If you are tired of your marriage and want it to become distant and hostile so you can spend your savings or kids’ college funds on a divorce court battle, do the following:
1. Begin every argument by yelling and accusing your spouse of being a bad person. It’s important to do this randomly without warning. Be sure to make your complaint as unclear as possible so they don’t know what to do. For example: Walk in the door and yell, “what inconsiderate, entitled person parks a car like that?”
2. Randomly give your spouse the cold shoulder and if they ask what’s wrong, refuse to answer and tell them they should know. Confuse them further by saying, “You do this every time and pretend you ‘didn’t mean to’. Do I look like an idiot?”
3. If your spouse complains about something, deny it and counter accuse them. For example: “I’d really like it if you turned off the TV when we talk.” Reply “I’d wouldn’t be interested in TV if you didn’t have to tell me about the daily soap opera that is your life. And since we are talking about it, I’d like it if you didn’t have to take 10 minutes of talking to realize that you have no point”‘
4. Stop showing all affection. For example: If you pass your spouse in the hallway, be sure to exaggerate the effort it takes to avoid even brushing each other in passing, avoid eye contact by staring at the wall.
5. If you get sucked into an argument, only respond with “you are crazy” paired with a look of disgust. After 5 rounds of that, begin interrupting them by saying, “I’d probably think that too, if I were insane”.
6. If none of the above work, shut down entirely and do not speak or respond, while looking at your watch repeatedly. It’s important to also stare about 4 feet away from your spouse while doing so.
7. If your spouse begins speaking to you, immediately pull out your phone and pretend to start texting someone, or play a game on it. If they tell you to stop, say “I am, hold on,” then continue until they complain, then repeat.
8. If your spouse is upset and wants to speak to you, mumble “whatever”, tell them you’ll be right back, and go to a bar until you know they’ll be asleep before returning. Or just don’t come home at all. The next morning, tell them you would love to hear them talk If it wasn’t always telling them whining about stupid things.
9. If your spouse is interested in sex, make a disgusted face, sigh, and walk away. If you do find yourself having to have sex, say, “Hold for me to get my kindle, I need something to do too.” Or begin to explain what happened the last time you went out with your friends and how hilarious it was.
10. If you have children, look for moments that your spouse is completely overwhelmed with them, then when they ask for help, abruptly turn and walk away after saying, “I’m the babysitter.”
Obviously, I am making a point. You should not be doing any of these if you want a healthy, happy marriage. So, if any of these seem familiar, stop and think about your actions. Couples counseling can offer skills training to relearn behaviors and improve the relationship.
Andrew Hurley specializes in couples counseling. He has additional training using the John Gottman method. Andrew has been a licensed professional counselor for over 15 years.