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22 Ways to Destroy Intimacy and Trust in Your Marriage

There are many things we can do, sinful things, that will hurt our husbands and erode the intimacy we all long for in our marriages. This is not a complete list, but it may be a blessing to just ponder these things prayerfully.

1. Insult your husband out loud or even just in your own heart.
2. View him as your enemy. See him as evil and yourself as good.
3. Ignore all of his positive qualities.
4. Habitually assume the absolute worst about him.
5. Throw around nuclear words like “divorce” and “separation” just because you are unhappy, to hurt him, or to try to force him to do what you want him to do. (Without biblical justification.)
6. Encourage your kids not to respect your husband as their father.
7. Assume your negative emotions are infallible.
8. Use words to tear him down.
9. Treat him like a child.
10. Don’t appreciate the things he does for you and your family.
11. Cherish bitterness in your heart against him.
12. Flirt with other men.
13. Use sex as a weapon to hurt him.
14. Threaten violence or attempt to physically injure him.
15. Bond with girlfriends by having husband-bashing sessions.
16. Be too busy to have time for your man.
17. Give up using good manners.
18. Be emotionally unsafe.
19. Compare him unfavorably to other men.
20. Be contentious and argumentative.
21. Complain and be negative.
22. Assume you are always right and he must be wrong if he has a different perspective.

Some of these things are blatant and some are more subtle, but they are all harmful – for either a husband or a wife .

The virtuous wife has a different approach to her husband:

She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Prov. 31:12

 
 
Lord,
Open our eyes to any things we may be doing that are destructive. Help us to repent to You and to receive Your healing and the power of Your Spirit to pour Your
LIFE, goodness, blessing, and kindness into our marriages. Help us to rebuild trust on our end and to build up our marriages and our husbands and not tear them down.
Amen!
Much love!
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If God has shown you some general things to stop doing that were destructive in your marriage, you are welcome to share in order to be a blessing to others. I would simply ask that you seek to honor the Lord and your husband in what you share.
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25 thoughts to “22 Ways to Destroy Intimacy and Trust in Your Marriage”

  1. I used to complain and get stressed out about money and our expenses a lot. My husband reacted by avoiding being at home as much as possible…and then I would complain bitterly that he was never at home. After almost two years of that, he admitted the reason he was avoiding me. It made him feel terrible because he was working as hard as he could to provide for me and also send money to his parents and siblings in Cuba who are very poor and really need his help. My constant stress and complaints made him feel helpless, overwhelmed and ashamed. When he finally admitted the truth, I learned to stop stressing out and complaining about our expenses and be content with what we have. Now he’s happy to be at home and spend time with me. I never would have guessed that even a “legitimate” complaint about money would have caused a huge gulf between us.

    1. Nikki,

      Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this important message. A lot of husbands feel incredible pressure to provide financially for their families. If he is in a position where he is not able to work, it is very demoralizing for him. And then, to hear that you are super stressed and he can’t fix it, can be pretty overwhelming.

      I’m so thankful that you are finding contentment even though the situation is not ideal. Praise God! And that you are enjoying each other! YAY! That is awesome!

      Much love,
      April

  2. I used to criticize my husband’s friends, and this killed intimacy between us. It took me years to realize these were his “brothers,” and it was as if I were criticizing my husband.
    They aren’t perfect, (just like I am not perfect!) and hubby loves them through thick and thin, which is beautiful.

    1. I have been guilty of that as well. I’m going to commit to only saying positive and kind things about his friends.

      It’s so great that we have this forum to discuss our failures and motivate each other to do better. 🙂

    2. Renee,
      I’m so thankful that God helped you to see this important piece of information! Yes! When we criticize our husband’s friends or family, they feel we are personally criticizing them and they want to defend their friends/family to us. It divides us from our husbands and destroys intimacy.

      Praise God for what He showed you! Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  3. Thank you for this list. I am guilty of many of these things and I see the destruction they can wreack on a relationship. I am trying to desist.

    Recently though my husband has twice mocked me in puvlic for being controlling, unfairly I feel. I was so shamed I had to excuse myself and go cry in a restroom this last time. He says he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings and was just “making a joke.”

    What is the right way to handle this? Probably forgive and look for my own part, I guess. I feel anything but forgiving though—i am furious and resentful. Not good, I know. Advice welcome!

    1. Cassandra,

      This does hurt – SO much. Especially when you are really working on asking God to change you. Yep. I feel you, sweet sister.

      I vote to pray first. And yes, if you realize you have sin in your own life from which you need to repent, do that first, without blaming him or justifying yourself. At a totally separate time from when you address his hurtful behavior.

      My suggestion is to share, later, and as calmly as possible, briefly, and with a friendly voice, that you would love to work together as a team on a new atmosphere in the marriage where you both seek to avoid speaking negatively about each other. Especially in public. Husbands and wives both tend to find that hurtful because it feels disrespectful.

      Or you could say, “Babe, I have a big favor to ask… It would really mean a lot to me if you wouldn’t make jokes about me being controlling in the future. I know I have messed up. I am so sorry I have hurt you. I am working on changing and what would really help me would be to feel encouraged and supported by you. It makes it hard for me to feel motivated to want to improve when I feel shot down in public. Thanks so much for understanding, Honey.”

      And then, that is probably all you need to say. Of course, these are suggestions to prayerfully consider. Most of all, speak what the Lord leads you to say and in His timing.

      And then yes, forgive him and realize he is on a steep learning curve to be the godly, holy man God calls him to be, too. You will both need a lot of grace and patience as you seek to grow and become more like Christ. Don’t let the enemy get you to keep drinking this poison of resentment. Invite God to take your pain and the hurtful words your husband said and invite Him to work in your husband’s heart as you also invite Him to work in your own.

      Much love!

  4. #11 is killing me. 5 years ago something happened that nearly destroyed me. I still cry about it. On the surface, my husband and I are trying to put the pieces back together, but the bitterness in my heart just refuses to leave. I am praying fervently that I can forgive from the heart, but my heart holds the bitterness inside and refuses to let it go. So many bad things are coming from it. For instance, while this was going on I saw my husband’s behavior as childish. Now, in small ways I am treating him like a child. Respect went out the window.
    Now, he is behaving very much better, but I haven’t recovered.
    I am praying fervently that the bitterness will not be a life sentence. I would love to tear that out of my life. There’s no clue how to begin to do that.

    1. Happily Gave Up,

      I have a LOT of posts about bitterness. I invite you to look for it on my search bar. Bitterness is something you have to decide to tear out of your heart and life. It is not something you passively wait to leave. Bitterness grows and grows and must be painfully ripped completely out until there is not one speck left.

      Bitterness is a stronghold of the enemy and of sin in our lives. Jesus offers us total cleansing and healing from it as we are willing to take it to Him and allow Him to transform our thinking. If you want to be set free from bitterness, it is your decision to make. Jesus has already provided the way for you and the power you need!

      We are commanded not to be bitter. This is not an option for a believer. God hates bitterness because it is rooted in hatred, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, pride, and all kinds of destructive thinking from the enemy. The longer it is in our lives, the more deeply rooted it will be. But it is always possible to invite God to help you rip it all completely out. It will hurt. It will take a lot of humility to allow God to help you and to be willing to part with it and not cherish it anymore like a pet.

      After you read a few posts, let me know if you want to talk some more.

      Lord,
      We lift up Happily Gave Up to You. She is hurting. Thank You that You have provided total healing for her from bitterness and that she can be set free from it starting today as she moves toward You and Your wisdom and away from the alluring grasp of bitterness. Open her eyes to what bitterness really is – how it is actually spiritual poison that she is giving to herself to drink that is hurting her fellowship with you and her spiritual growth and that is contaminating her marriage and family. It is contagious. It is toxic. It gives the enemy a big foothold into her life and access into her mind and motives and thoughts. It has to go.

      I thank and praise You that You are perfectly capable of setting her free – just like You did for me and for so many other wives I know.

      Help her have the light she needs and the wisdom and discernment she needs. We declare the blood of Jesus and the power of the cross over this sin – that she has the power to crucify it and kill it with the help of Jesus. And we declare that she is a new creature in Christ! The old has gone, the new has come. She is no longer bound by the enemy’s lies and deception. She is set free to walk in new life, peace, joy, and all of the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit!

      Amen!

      Much love!

  5. When you become a safe place emotionally for your husband does he begin to soften up to you and open up much more? And opposite, when wives display that they are untrustworthy and unsafe, do husband’s tend to close themselves off? If so, why is that?

    1. Jaimie,

      Obviously, it depends somewhat on the situation and the husband. For me, when I stopped being negative, critical, condescending, condemning, controlling, bitter, super worried, needy, clingy, bitter, self-righteous, etc… And I began to honor the Lord’s wisdom and commands for me as a believer and as a wife (and act in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than my sinful flesh), yes, my husband eventually began to feel safe with me again (it took a few years) and he did begin to soften and open up.

      Most people, women included, do not enjoy opening up to someone who repeatedly hurts them. If someone feels emotionally/verbally attacked, they tend to either fight back or go into a shell to protect themselves. For my husband, he felt that his opinions and ideas didn’t matter. He knew I was going to force my way on everything and that I thought I was always right and if he disagreed, he was automatically wrong. Eventually, he stopped trying to share his perspective. I didn’t understand why at the time, sadly. He never told me why he shut down and went so silent early in our marriage. I actually wish he had told me so I could have had a chance to change a lot earlier. But it would have been scary to confront me at the time, I am sure.

      If you’d like to see a bit more of his perspective, you can check out this post.

      I have seen some husbands who don’t ever open up again. And I have seen other husbands who start feeling safe a lot sooner and begin to heal and the marriage is reconciled more quickly. Of course, sometimes a husband has his own issues, too, that may be unrelated and may be why he closes himself off.

      1. Interesting! Just wondering out of curiosity how marriages go down this road. On the other end it might be interesting to learn more behind why husbands become harsh and ways to combat it. I wonder if men recognize when they’re doing this or if it’s more subconscious. Theres got to be a balance in the Lord when the marriage is equally yoked and both partners are submitted to Christ.

        1. Jaimie,

          In our sinful flesh, we tend to go to dysfunctional extremes – controlling, dominating, and harsh, or too quiet, passive, and shut down. There are a lot of reasons behind why people go to one extreme or the other. Sometimes it is the example they saw. Sometimes it is a reaction to the example they saw and a determination to be the opposite. Sometimes it is out of fear. Always, it is from our fallen nature.

          The cure is Jesus and the power of His Spirit! When we walk in the Spirit, we can be a blessing to our spouse (and everyone else) as we live out the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

          Yes, when both partners are submitted to Christ and being transformed by His Word and His Spirit, there can truly be balance and harmony. <3

  6. I used to do the husband bashing thing with my friends where we would all talk about how annoying our husbands were and such. I’ve since realized this is not right and that anything my husband could be better at is a conversation to have with God, NOT with other people. I no longer do this and have no desire to hear about it from others either. I can’t believe I ever thought it was okay.

    1. callista83,
      I’m thrilled to hear that God helped you to see that this was harmful and to see that we can take our concerns to the Lord in a respectful way. That is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing what the Lord has been showing you. <3

      Love it!

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