Recently, an article was published in Hitched Magazine which said the number one problem of couples in a dysfunctional or failing marriage is that they take advantage of one another. it’s easy to do really. You become so accustomed to your partner being there, being part of the scenery so to speak, and doing the little things they do that make them special, that you eventually begin to not notice. Or, you feel as if your partner owes you something or doesn’t mind constantly checking things off of the ‘honey-do’ list simply because the two of you are married.
Taking advantage of your spouse is no different from taking advantage of anything else. If you had a power outage right now, you would immediately realize just how grateful and thankful you are for electricity. If your water was turned off, you would realize within an hour how much you actually use water during the course of a day. If your car was broken down, you would be forced to come face to face with the realization of how reliant you are upon your car. Unfortunately, when it comes to marriage by the time folks realize they are thankful for, or that they have taken advantage of their partner time has run out and feelings have been damaged to the point that divorce may seem imminent.
Sometimes, you might be taking advantage of your spouse without even noticing it. Some people in this world (and its great if you are married to one) are naturally good providers who seem to enjoy making other people happy. But this inclination to satisfy others isn’t something that should be taken advantage of. And just because they love to do nice things for you, does not mean that you shouldn’t return the favor by being grateful and thankful even for the little things.
How can you avoid this? Take this quiz to see if you are taking advantage of your spouse?
- How many times per day do you ask your spouse to do something for you? When they go to the kitchen, do you automatically ask (and assume that they will) bring you a drink or turn the coffee pot on? Do you ask them to run to the store for you? Do you naturally expect them to say yes when you ask for favors?
- Do you say thank you for the little and big things they do for you? Far too often, when people take advantage of another person, they forget to say thank you, or please. This shows a great deal of disrespect.
- Do you answer the phone, respond to a text, and check out facebook while you are in the middle of a conversation with them. In successful marriages, spouses prioritize one another! Not prioritizing your spouse shows signs that you might be taking advantage of them.
- When conversations get heated, do you tend to ‘tune out’ or ignore the situation, not answers questions or become indignant? Do you tend to control conversations by getting louder or saying mean things? In many relationships, one person takes advantage of another’s inability to be outspoken and does not provide them with the answers that they want in a time of need. This is a form of taking advantage of another person.
- Do you get more than you give in the relationship? This is a simple question but the answer can be complex. If the relationship seems lopsided, meaning one person is always giving more (in many areas) chances are someone is being taken advantage of.
- Do you ask your partner about their day, their life, their work, their feelings? People who only talk about themselves who don’t care to listen to other peoples thoughts and feelings often take advantage of other people.
- Is your partner resentful? If so, chances are they are resentful because they feel they are being taken advantage of. If you are resentful, it may mean that YOU are being taken advantage of in the relationship.
- Do you offer to help? If you see your spouse cleaning up, or mowing the grass, do you offer to help or just sit idly by and allow them to handle it themselves?
- Most often, who gets ‘their way’ in a relationship. If one person tends to get their way more than the other you can rest assured this person is being taken advantage of in the relationship.
Marriage is supposed to be forever. Truth be told, very few people will be okay being a doormat for the rest of their lives. Being taken advantage of by someone you love is a very heartbreaking experience that over time can damage a relationship to an irreparable state. Chances are you do not take advantage of your spouse (or they you) on purpose, but rather because the two of you have established a routine, and are complacent with one another. Still, just as a garden needs water to thrive, a marriage needs mutual respect and love to thrive.
Right now, take a few minutes to think of ten things you would miss about your spouse should they disappear from your life tomorrow. Of these ten things, how many of them do you just expect on a day-to-day basis? Take inventory of the ways your spouse may go out of their way to make you happy. Are you thankful for them? Do you return the favors easily? Marriage is definitely about equality in a relationship. While each of you may bring something different to the marriage, both of you must bring gratitude on a daily basis.