Moments before I walked down the aisle, I heard one resounding phrase from countless older relatives who relished doling out marriage advice to the young, naive bride: “Marriage is hard work.” And I was all, “Whatever, Grandma. We are in love. Love is never hard, and our marriage won’t be hard either.”
But I was wrong.
Marriage is hard work. No, it’s not literally hard, like intense, physical labor. It’s not difficult like calculus is for the person who is right-brain dominant. But it is challenging. It’s often frustrating. Marriage takes patience and understanding and refraining from gouging out your spouse’s eyes with rusty nails when he just won’t agree that black is not a good wall color for the foyer. It’s hard.
Although it is often demanding, it doesn’t have to be as hard. Here are 10 ways you’re making your marriage harder than it has to be, ladies:
1. You’re a drama queen.
You’d be an excellent leading lady on a soap opera, but your marriage isn’t performed on a set and you don’t have to gaze bewilderingly into a camera before commercial breaks (thank God), so that exaggerated tantrum because your spouse threw his boxer shorts on the bathroom floor is unnecessary.
As with raising children, in marriage you have to pick your battles. Stop sweating the small stuff. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
2. You can’t forgive and forget.
Your spouse is going to muck up at least a thousand things during your years of lifelong bliss. It’s inevitable. Have you told him you’ve forgiven him? Then forgive him and quit bringing up the incident where he caught the house on fire in 2007. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
3. You’re bossy.
You know you’re bossy. You vividly remember all the notes your friends passed you in elementary school that declared they couldn’t play with you anymore because you are so domineering. Stop trying to be in control. Stop telling your grown spouse what to do and how to do it. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
4. You can’t be trusted.
The moment your husband confides in you, you take to Facebook to share his work troubles or family troubles or bowel troubles with the world. You dial up your mother or your friends and divulge family secrets to them.
Stop betraying your husband’s trust. He doesn’t appreciate it, and your mother is probably tired of hearing about his constipation. When he finds out you keep flapping your gums to the entire town, it’s going to cause more problems. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
5. You’re a nag.
You constantly complain, criticize, and condemn your spouse for every little thing he does that doesn’t live up to your expectations. Your reasonable reminders and requests have turned into the annoying and ugly noise of a broken record.
No one likes a broken record. Learn how to communicate your desires in an appreciative and loving way and then shut up about it. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
6. You’re always right.
News flash: you’re not. Consider your spouse’s opinion once in a while. The foyer may not look good painted black, per his suggestion, but hopefully you didn’t marry a complete dummy. You know he’s got some good ideas and resolutions, so stop being so closed-minded and consider his view. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
7. You’re terrible at communicating your wants and needs.
Your husband isn’t charging $2.99 per minute to tell fortunes over the phone. He doesn’t telepathically know you had a horrible day and want him to bring home dinner. He cannot read your thoughts, and you can’t read his, no matter how hard you stare at him with squinted eyes.
Tell the man what you want and need, and expect the same from him! Assuming he should know your desires is just gearing you up for a nagging episode when he doesn’t deliver. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
8. You refuse to apologize.
You may not set the house on fire during your marriage, but you’re going to eff up something in your relationship. As mentioned earlier, realize that you aren’t always right and that you're going to make mistakes, and then apologize for them! Please stop being so superior and own up to your wrongs. You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself.
9. You’re too concerned with your spouse.
Of course, you should be concerned with your spouse—how he feels and his wants and needs and if he packed deodorant and clean underwear for his weekend fishing trip and if he's sexting with his secretary. But hovering over him like a helicopter mother and needing to know his every move, his every thought, the details of his every phone conversation and pee break is incessantly annoying.
You’re making everyone miserable, including yourself. You’re making your marriage harder than it has to be.
10. You’re immature.
The bottom line is this: You’re immature. It’s apparent in your tantrums and your nagging and refusal to apologize and refusal to accept apologies. It’s obvious in your bossiness and your nosiness and your lack of communication. The sooner you grow up, the better and happier your marriage will be. Your immaturity is making everyone miserable, including yourself.
Are you helping turn your marriage from hard to bad? Are you expediting the process? Are you the reason for the strife in your home? Take a look at what you’re doing to put stress on your matrimony’s foundation.
And then change it. Everyone will be happier for it, including yourself.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.