A couple of years ago I came across a post from Ashley of Far Beyond Love entitled, “Does Your Marriage Have a Deal-Breaker?” Her article stuck out to me and I immediately found myself beginning to question and think about the points she makes as it relates to my own marriage. Do I, in fact, have a deal-breaker? Do I have more than one? Is there one thing that would mean the end of my marriage? Today I’m digging deep into the depths of my relationship and sharing my thoughts on this topic of marriage deal breakers.
Now, this concept of a deal-breaker is simple. Ask yourself:
what, if any, is the one act that would mean the dissolution of my marriage?
10 RELATIONSHIP DEAL BREAKERS
It is understood that when one enters a marriage it should be grounded in love, respect, honesty, trust, and yada, yada, yada. If that holds true, and people enter marriage with the best of intentions, then why do people divorce in the first place? Do people really jump ship that easily? To answer that, let’s take a little peek at a few facts.
According to the Center for Disease Control and their National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends report, in 2014 my husband and I were counted as one of the 2 million people that married that year*. Surprisingly, within that same year there were an average of 800,000 reported divorces**. This equates to a rate of an average of 3 people divorcing per 1,000 people.
*excludes data from Georgia and Louisiana.
** of 45 reporting states and DC.
Although this means that divorce still tends to be the answer for many couples, it doesn’t reflect the common notion that we’ve all heard, “half of marriages end in divorce.” It’s simply not true anymore. The divorce rate actually appears to be falling, which could mean one of two things: A) more couples are waiting or not marrying at all or B) more marriages are lasting. Either way, it’s encouraging to know that marriages do stand a chance in a culture that oftentimes treats the institution as a fleeting choice that’s easily exchanged or discarded.
Changing the approach: raw communication.
When my husband and I first met we were both fresh from leaving our respective relationships. We found ourselves in no rush to enter into anything new, but of course God had other plans for us. It was an instant connection or you could call it the fabled love at first sight. Either way, we knew we found something special in one another and became fiercely protective of it.
Although falling in love were easy choices for us, for the first time in our dating lives we changed our approach to how we related to one another. We tried something new for ourselves considering the mistakes of our previous relationships and those depressing seasons of our past lives. We were honest, wholeheartedly, with each other and up front about what we wanted or expected. I will call these the non-negotiables. These are the values or lifestyles that are equally important to the both of us and are the things we will not tolerate within our relationship.
The non-negotiables list.
One way we evaluated what our non-negotiables are was to make a list. We thought about what values, beliefs, or expectations we have and communicated them to each other.
This is something easy you can do regardless of if you’re dating, engaged, or have been married for 50 years. Your list doesn’t need to be lengthy, but in reality we all have at least a few things that are super important for us that shouldn’t be minimized or altered just because of who our significant other is or how long we’ve been together.
I want children. Maybe two.
I want to be married when we have children.
I want to raise our family in the Christian faith.
My husband must be a non-smoker.
Must have a steady career.
Always reaching to elevate yourself and others.
I want to be completely open and included in our family finances.
Must have clean habits and enjoys a clean home.
Must be flexible and open minded in life.
Must like children and dogs.
Must take care of yourself (in diet, exercise, etc).
Share in the same interests.
Be flexible and adaptable.
Accept him as he is and to not try and change him.
Let him be the man in the relationship.
Must have good personal/oral hygiene.
Having an continuous and open dialogue about these non-negotiables has been one of the strongest bonds my husband and I both share and can even be said three married years later. We respect the values and opinions we have and love each other despite what’s on our lists.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”
1 Peter 3:7
HAVE YOU DETERMINED YOUR RELATIONSHIP NON-NEGOTIABLES?
19 GUYS AND GIRLS ON THEIR ONE NON-NEGOTIABLE RELATIONSHIP DEALBREAKER
Bringing it full circle.
So, if you could make a list today of your non-negotiables what would be on it? I challenge you today to make your list and share it with your spouse and see what conversations stem from this openness and place of honesty. How can your marriage flourish by recognizing ways in which your non-negotiables can influence your relationship?
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”