A good friend of mine says that love is blind, but marriage restores your 20/20 vision. Regardless of romance, all marriages -- at some point or another -- will go through at least one major crisis.
If the relationship survives past the first few years, after the endorphins have subsided, couples will have to deal with the 12-to-20 season: the time between years 12 and 20 when couples typically work out the last major kinks and differences. If they are unable to reach this point, years 12-20 will typically result in divorce.
Here are five signs you might be the reason why your marriage has not worked out its kinks:
1. You can't handle the in-laws. Research shows that how spouses relate to the in-laws is a strong predictor of marriage longevity. A man who gets along with his wife's parents is wise -- his chances of a strong marriage increases by about 20 percent. Women who get along with their in-laws actually have an increased probability of divorce, by about 20 percent.
If you are the husband who does not invest in knowing or liking the in-laws, or if you are a wife who can't say no to the mom-in-law's constant, last-minute demands, you are probably driving your spouse to divorce.
2. You are always the victim. You never do anything wrong, and your spouse is always doing things on purpose, obviously. He/she is completely insensitive, never takes you into consideration and probably even forgets that you exist. In return, you never ask for anything, you allow your spouse to over-indulge and underestimate.
Perhaps your spouse has been unfaithful but you will forgive every single time. If you truly cannot see any of your own faults or imperfections and blame the other person for all that goes wrong, you are probably driving your spouse to divorce.
3. You can't handle pain or anger. No, this does not mean that you explode in anger every two minutes. This could very well mean you pretend to never get angry in an effort to avoid confrontations. You cannot be fully honest about how you feel because you don't want to be the bearer of bad news.
The idea of pain is overwhelming, and it is something you avoid because it is "bad." You always wait until you cool off, which takes about six months and by then you don't even remember what happened. It must not have been that important...
The idea of anger makes you angry at yourself for even thinking it, because you believe you should never feel angry. When your spouse gets angry, you feel a lot of pain and you work hard to get rid of the pain. Instead of dealing with your hyper-sensitivities, you pretend to not be angry, give silent treatments and fake orgasms, or better yet, you fake headaches to avoid sex altogether. If you are more concerned with keeping the peace than you are with making peace, you are probably driving your spouse to divorce.
4. You know you're right. Negotiating typically means that your spouse will think it over until they agree with, well -- you. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to reason with someone who already knows how the problem will be resolved. Its not that you are being unreasonable, you actually make a lot of sense, which makes everything more difficult.
Since you make sense, you assume that you are right, and that your point of view is therefore the only "right" one. Your spouse never gets it. Ever. Or hardly ever. Because you really are willing to negotiate, just not this time because this time you are right. As usual. If your spouse can't make decisions without you having a great "suggestion," as you typically do, you are probably driving your spouse to divorce.
5. You constantly belittle your partner's needs. Men need words of affirmation and sexual intimacy. Women need time to be heard and appreciated, as well as random acts of kindness. Minimizing how important these are is like denying water to a rose garden and expecting roses.
The bond that holds couples together will never bloom unless you give it what it needs: validation. When couples start to hold their needs against each other, they vanish any possibility of real intimacy. After all, your spouse should be the one person on this planet who wants your needs to be met, even if they can't meet all of them.
If you withold sex as punishment because you know how important it is for him, or you skip intellectual foreplay consistently because you are too tired to romance her, you are probably driving your spouse to divorce.
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