12 Ways We Push Our Spouses Away and WW Link Up!

Very often we push our spouses away without even knowing we’re doing it on a conscious level. Sadly, I’m just as guilty of clinging to many of these “12 Ways” as you might be.

In fact, I’d be better off telling you which ones I don’t struggle with, than to name the long list of those I do! Suffice it to say, they are all a temptation for me and, when I take a step back, I see the alienation they create in my marriage and the damage they do to my love for my husband.

12 Ways We Push Spouses

Take a moment and evaluate how much you might be pushing your spouse away, then set about to pull them close to you once again! And if you’re not sure where to start, #12 is a great place. Seeking God and His love enables us to love our spouses like no one and nothing else can!

Okay, it’s confession time! {I’ll share mine in the comment section below!}

Which one from the list do you struggle with the most? 


What would you add to the list {to avoid and to pursue}?


Feel free to print out this graphic as a reminder. Simply right click on the image and select “save as” to save it to your computer.

I want to make it clear that I realize sometimes divorce is unavoidable and/or thrust upon many. The suggestion on #11 is simply one way that divorce can be hedged off.



Joining with  Works for Me WednesdayWholehearted Wednesday,Whimsical Wednesday, What You Wish Wednesday, So Much at Home and Essential Fridays.

Now it’s time for Wedded Wednesday!
Grab our WW Button Code here!

Messy Marriage

And don’t forget to include a link back here, because the easier people can find Wedded Wednesday, the more traffic I can send your way!


  • Darn, I have to confess? Ok, for me it’s probably #6. I’m a multitasker, which means my attention is often split between my husband and whatever other task or person is vying for my focus. You’ve convicted me to give my hubby 100 percent!

    • I’m here to say that #7 is my weakness. And I’m with you, Becky, this is something I’ve been convicted of and want to give 100% to my spouse from now on. I never post anything that isn’t something that I apply to myself. So here’s to joining arms and loving our mates the very best we can!

  • JosephPote

    #3 is an easy trap to fall into. Fortunately, I can usually recognize and correct it before it gets too far. Having previously experienced a truly abusive marriage makes it easier, I think, to realize when I’m just being whiny and need to remember to be thankful for the wonderful mate God has given me.

    • Oh yes, that used to be my M.O. back when my marriage was getting messier by every ruminating moment. Then I realized how much of a negative impact it was making when I started to take captive those pesky thoughts. Suddenly my hubby wasn’t so bad after all. Funny how that works! God surely wants us to be grateful! Thanks for your authenticity, Joe. You admitted one that’s not very flattering, but so very common to us all.

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  • For me, it’s 9 and 10.

    I lost the capacity to understand, on a personal level, both romance and sexual desire. The mechanism by which they were lost was the onset of PTSD.

    Before I was married, I didn’t have nearly as much trouble with combat trauma, because I kept one foot “in the boot”. I maintained an operational level of fitness, was always armed, and generally lived as if I could step back into a bad deployment – and love it.

    But that doesn’t work when you’re married, and when I became a husband I didn’t realize that I was throwing away the grounding that kept me sane, and made me the person my wife fell in love with.

    The flashbacks and nightmares began, and they changed me. The playfulness and humour that are the underpinnings of romance and sex vanished. Now, I rarely smile, and almost never laugh.

    Well, sometimes I laugh, but most people wouldn’t see the stuff as funny. You had to have been there, I guess.

    My wife doesn’t like it, but she’s learned to accept it. I’ve tried to find ways to ameliorate the situation, but nothing’s worked…and now I’m really not well enough to make it worthwhile.

    So I’d add a lucky #13…we push away our spouses when we don’t take the time to understand the way we cope with the issues in our life.

    • Ah, yes, Andrew! That’s another great example. I think this one is more common than many of the rest of these because it’s so hidden from our view. Others may see it and may even have an idea of where it’s coming from, but very often we don’t see it until the damage to our marriage has been irreparably done. You’ve been through so much, my friend, that I think it’s a miracle that you are aware of it in your life. PTSD is such a huge barrier in life and marriage and something I’ve not addressed here at MM. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you guest post on that subject sometime. 🙂

      • Beth, thank you! I’d love to guest-post on this. I’ll email you.

        Combat trauma is an obstacle, but it’s also part of what defines an individual, and therapy aimed at ameliorating and ‘taking away’ the symptoms can backfire by throttling one’s core identity.

        The thing is – the old ‘me’ is gone, and the only way forward into a healthy adaptation to civilian life requires the careful construction of what amounts to a new psyche…one that includes and honors the experiences of the past.

  • When my marriage was falling apart I know that I handled it by withdrawing or even avoiding the messiness that was present. I immersed myself in the daily areas that I was successful with in order to feel like I had achieved something that day. There are many reasons why my marriage did not work out, but I know #2 was a big factor in the downfall of the marriage because God was not at the center of our marriage. Thank you for the chance to reflect on this as a means to understand the relationship better and to help me in the future. Happy Wednesday, my friend!

    • Yep, number 2 is more common than many of the others because it’s done in the name of being a “good parent.” Yet we short-change our kids when we make them the center of our world, instead of turning to God foundationally, and making our spouses the priority. Our kids will be from secure and loving homes when we do that. I am guilty of this one as well, though, Mary. In fact, it’s becoming more clear to me as we took our youngest son to college last week. I realize how much I’ve made my son the priority and telling my hubby to stand in line! Thanks for your kindness to me, girlfriend!

  • Fabulous list! I just pinned it onto my Marriage Board!

    I think #6 might be my greatest weakness. As a busy homeschooling mom of 10, blogger, and owner of two home businesses, I’m always . . . well, BUSY! Too Busy! I do find myself multi-tasking with my husband, and I know he has taken my phone away from me before when we were out to dinner and several of the older kids were texting me about this and that!!! 🙁

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom here and for hosting the link up! I look forward to linking up my marriage post here each week! I really went out on a limb this week! 😉


    • That’s great, Elizabeth! I’m honored to be “pinned.” 😉 Yes, number 6 seems to be one that many relate to and do. It really takes effort and intentionality to stop what we’re doing and focus in on our spouses when they are with us. But that small shift in our focus at those times can reap huge dividends in our marriages–modeling for our kids how to be an attentive spouse. So everyone wins when we do this! But I’m right there with you, Elizabeth. It’s easy to get in “the zone” and blow past my man! 😉

  • Multi tasker and criticizer… working on these each day!

    • So would that make you a “multi-tasking criticizer,” Stasia?! You can criticize more than one person or more than one topic at a time, right! ha! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist! Thanks for being willing to weigh in and join the conversation, my friend!

  • What a great list!! I saved it, I will pin it to my marriage list, and I will refer to it because it is such a good reminder as I move on with my hubby. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been married, I need to keep being reminded of these things because slipping happens too quickly. I am working on #11 and NOT because we are anywhere near divorce but because I am always trying to work on building my marriage. We live in a society that makes preventive maintenance in marriage of utmost importance.

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful, Judith. I thought about writing it from the positive end, but then I thought people might miss the way these attitudes and behaviors creep into our lives and inadvertently push our spouses away. That’s a great positive focus to strive for, Judith. We need to always be protecting the sacred covenant we’ve made with our mates. Thanks for encouraging me and have a great time with your family!

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  • Hi Beth, Guilty as charged on a few of these. So glad we learn to recognize these behaviors as we grow in our faith and in God’s Word. Thank goodness for grace, mercy and forgiveness in our spouses and in our heavenly Father!

    • That’s one of the best parts about being a believer, Kim. The Holy Spirit is always there guiding and convicting us. I just don’t ever want to grow cold and apathetic to God’s voice. Thankfully He doesn’t give up on me and continues to draw me toward Him, just like I need to draw my man toward me. Thanks for stopping by and weighing in, my friend. It’s always a pleasure to see your smiling face here in this place! 🙂

  • I loved reading your list. It’s so “on” but the other reason is that I could trace the points and see how much God has helped me through the young years of our marriage. (I should have learned something in the 39 years!) 7 was probably the one I struggled with the most. God showed me it was a matter of selfishness. My husband has counseled through the years and believes most issues in marriage are a root cause of selfishness. I’m still learning. ~Pamela

    • I’m with you on number 7, Pamela. It’s the hardest for me to rein in and keep under control. We really do learn so much about life and love throughout the many years of our marriages, if we keep our heart attuned to the Lord and His guidance. Thanks for stopping by and saying, “hi!” You’ve encouraged me. 🙂

  • Hello Beth!!! Glad to see you back at MM and hope your summer sabbatical was just what you were hoping for. Or more! Great post and I love the list. And can relate to or have struggled with a number of the points listed. But #3 caught me — that critical internal voice. Not just towards hubby but me, too. And the key for me is choosing to say SHUT UP and focus on those excellent things about us both. I have just gotten back into the swing at Longings End myself after a crazy, wonderful, whirlwind summer with all the boys local and a houseful of visiting adult children all summer. LOVED IT! Michael says he’d do it over again in a heartbeat. Then we sold our home. And moved!!! { Wrote about it a bit in Monday’s post — http://longingsend.com/2014/08/25/when-life-wears-your-marriage-down-let-god-conduct-a-transformation/ } Downsizing from 4 bedrooms to one has been quite the experience. Then we both got socked with the flu. STILL coughing!! But both much better. Have missed interacting with you and all my online friends. In case you try to leave a comment at LE our site is having old-age issues. We are in process of updating our theme and design so you can stop by our FB page if you like. Anyway, sending you all the best with lots of love and hugs. 🙂

    • I’ve missed our weekly connections, Sheila. I’ve thought of you often throughout the past few months and wondered how everything was going. Congrats on selling your house and taking the plunge to downsize! My hubby and I are right behind you and Michael on this one. We hope to have our house ready to be put on the market by early spring. With that said, I completely relate to the sickness and difficulty of blogging issues you’ve been having. I’m having computer shoulder/arm/wrist issues again. I guess I may have to go back to my PT, but that’s so time-consuming! Ugh! Anyway, with a lot on my plate and a hand that’s often in pain, I’ve not been as active around the blogosphere, but hope to improve on that. Hugs to you and say “hello” to Michael for us. 🙂

  • Hi Beth – I thought I would respond to you over here, since I’m never sure if people see my responses to their comments. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you had a good sabbatical and feel refreshed, although I’m sorry to hear that you are having arm and shoulder pain. I hope you can get it resolved soon.

    This is a great list. Sadly, I can see pieces of myself in several of the items. I just learned a week or so ago that a Christian couple we have known for years, very strong and committed, has divorced. I could not have been more shocked – my mouth was literally hanging open when I heard the news. It really reminded me that we cannot take our marriages for granted. We simply must pray for them and work on the kinds of things you have listed here all the time. I am going to pin and share this post.

  • Becky Boerner

    Hard to narrow down to just one because I struggle with all of them. Most recently I’ve struggled with #3. I seem to want to look at who he is in a negative light(through my own eyes) rather than looking at him as Christ sees him. I need to frame this and put it up as a reminder in each room in my house.