So, you’re a married man. Congratulations! Being married can be awesome and liberating. You get to spend the rest of your life with your best friend and someone who complements you completely – it’s tremendous.
The thing about marriage is that it actually provides a framework for you to thrive and flourish, to become your true self rather than someone who is just angling for another score.
But even though marriage is a time for you to feel free, there are a few things that married men should never do. Here are four of them.
Get emotionally vulnerable with a member of the opposite sex
Whether you’re unburdening yourself or whether they’re pouring out their heart to you, this is just a bad idea. Look, we all want to be the person who is kind and loving and who is “there” for those in need. And that’s a great person to be!
Just don’t be that person for a member of the opposite sex. Especially if it’s just the two of you.
Look, we’re not afraid of a man being friends or even being close with a woman that he’s not married to. But we also understand the realities of the way the human heart works, and we know that emotional vulnerability can wind up leading either – or both – of you to places you shouldn’t be going.
Someone else can be there for them. Or there for you. It’s not worth it.
Hey, you want to know a great way to kill intimacy with your wife? Try keeping score!
When you get into a heated conversation (i.e. argument), don’t try to find resolution – just try to win. When your wife asks you to do something for her, remember it so you can use it later to force her to do something for you.
Oh, and when it comes to sex, definitely keep track of who initiates and when and then take it personally.
Of course we’re being sarcastic here. Keeping score is great when you’re playing actual games, but a terrible thing to do in marriage. You and your spouse are in this together, meaning you either both win or you both lose. Grow up.
Try to fix your wife
The great thing about your wife is that she is a wonderful puzzle of occasional contradictions who sometimes just needs to think out loud.
And at the risk of generalizing, we’re going to say that when she does think out loud, she’s not really looking for answers so much as a confidant and someone to back up the way she feels about something.
She probably doesn’t really want you to fix her situation, and she definitely doesn’t want you to fix her.
You aren’t responsible for your wife’s emotions or actions. You know who is? She is. Let her be. Listen, be kind, back her up, and let her vent.
Stop doing the little things
You know how when you were dating you did all kinds of cool, fun, romantic little things? And you know how that made her feel?
Yeah, you should keep doing that stuff.
You probably already know this, because it’s in, like, every marriage book, blog, video course, conference, and getaway weekend. But there’s a reason for that: because it’s true.
You have to keep doing that stuff to let your wife know you still cherish her and respect her and have a desperate desire to continue surprising her, even after all these years.
And now it’s your turn, married guys. We’ve given you some ideas – take them as a springboard and start thinking of what you shouldn’t do as a married man, as well as all the many, many things that you can do. Get started. Live free.
A version of this post originally appeared on xxxchurch‘s blog on October 5, 2016. Used by permission.
Craig Gross is a pastor and the founder of xxxchurch.com and author of Eyes of Integrity / Pure Eyes / Jesus Loves You This I Know / Starving Jesus / The Dirty Little Secret / The Gutter / Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama / Open: What Happens When You Get Real, Get Honest, and Get Accountable / Touchy Subjects / Go Small / and most recently Through A Man’s Eyes. Craig lives in California with his wife and two kids. Craig speaks at a number of church services, colleges, festivals and youth events each year.