10/23/2013 12:45 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

5 Ways You May Be Unwittingly Torpedoing Your Marriage

With the news that Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian on Monday amongst family and friends, my sincere hope is that this union does not end in another celebrity divorce. Before we begin predictions of how long Kim and Kanye's marriage will last, let's go over five blunders many married couples often struggle with that may unwittingly lead to divorce.

1) Not saying thank you: It doesn't take much to authentically thank your spouse, even for little things like feeding the dog or doing the dishes. During the race of the day, we often overlook opportunities to say thank you. It takes so little effort, yet a simple thank you can make your spouse feel appreciated.

2) Turning a single subject disagreement into the kitchen sink of disagreements: Ever had a disagreement with your spouse about a single event and have it turn into a discussion of every martial shortcoming experienced since you said the words "I do"? That's the kitchen sink approach to arguments. It's unproductive and exhausting. When discussing a disagreement, stay focused on the matter at hand and leave the sink in the kitchen.

3) Not working on your marriage: For your marriage to work, you must work on your marriage. Treat your marriage like a garden that must be cultivated, watered, and cared for regularly. Often we expect our marriages to grow with little to no real work. Then, when our marriages are in trouble, we begin the work after months and perhaps years of marital neglect.

4) Using the "D" word: You can think it, you can feel it, but please don't ever say the word divorce unless you're prepared to actually go through with it. Saying to your spouse, "Maybe we should just get a divorce" is like using a marital weapon of mass destruction. It can devastate the possibility of reconciliation because hope is lost.

5) Forgetting to have fun: When is the last time you had a moment of fun with your spouse? You know, laughing together about something that's just between the two of you? Make time to have some fun together and momentarily get away from the stress of the job, the kids, the family finances and other daily pressures. Laughing builds the friendship, which is the backbone of the relationship.

I attended a 60th wedding anniversary over the weekend where a recipe for a happy marriage was shared. The photo of that recipe is below. I hope this post is useful and practical for all married couples. And I hope that Kanye and Kim have a wonderful marriage and a blessed family life.


Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
We’re basically your best friend... with better advice.