I often encounter couples in our church who think they are unique. Because we tend to put on our happy faces at church, they believe theirs is the only marriage in a bad season.

In fact, I’m convinced not understanding that many couples weather these rocky places in marriage may be one reason some couples give up on their marriage. If they understood how normal they are, they might be more willing to raise the white flag—to ask for help—and work to restore the marriage.

I’ve observed over the years some issues in marriage that if not addressed can cripple the marriage. These “biggies” may manifest themselves in other ways, but if you trace back to their origin, you would find these issues to be at fault.

And, let’s not sugarcoat. They are sins—and we all sin. Every marriage is composed of two sinners. This is the real reason there are no perfect marriages.

Left to fester on their own, these sins will eventually destroy a marriage or certainly keep it from achieving the oneness God commanded.

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So, what are these damaging sins?

I’m glad you asked.

  1. Selfishness. Marriage won’t work without mutual submission. Read Ephesians 5:21. Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. Ideally it’s to be a 100/100 bond—where both spouses willingly yield their all. (I used the word ideal because your marriage is not there and neither is mine.) When one spouse demands their way or will never work towards a compromise, the relationship can never be all it should be. One person is happy—the one who got their way—and the other is miserable.
  1. Discontentment. Boredom is perhaps the number one destroyer of marriage. Every relationship has seasons that aren’t as “exciting” as others. Some days you “feel” more in love than other days. But, the key to a long-term relationship is a commitment beyond emotion.
  1. Pride. When one spouse can never admit they are wrong or see their flaws, it drives a wedge of bitterness in the other spouse. Pride is also destructive when the couple is too proud to admit their struggles or get the help they need.
  1. Lack of forgiveness. Holding on to past hurts not only damages the marriage bond, it destroys the person who refuses to forgive. Trust can’t be developed until forgiveness is granted. And, isn’t grace expected to be extended?
  1. Anger. Scripture is clear—we should not go to bed in anger. And, there is a reason. Anger creates a divide—one that only grows wider when not dealt with over time.
  1. Complacency. As soon as you think your marriage is above the problems of other relationships, you’re in trouble. The enemy loves to attack the unaware.
  1. Covetousness. Couples who compare themselves to other couples will almost always be disappointed. There will always be people with more—and it likely isn’t making them as happy as you think it does. And, keep in mind, many times people disguise their struggles well. The couple you think has it all may wish they had what you have. Every couple is unique. Comparison only leads to frustration.

As soon as you think your marriage is above the problems of other relationships, you’re in trouble.

Ask yourself this question: Which of these is most prevalent in my marriage today? Which is causing the greatest harm? Which of these, while it may not be an issue today, could be if we don’t get serious about it soon?

Be honest with yourself—and ultimately—with your spouse.

Used by permission of Ron Edmondson. Visit his site for more blog posts like this at ronedmondson.com