We all go through our lives with certain beliefs and mindsets that trigger patterns of behavior. But what happens when those behaviors start eroding our relationship? And when does something that feels as innocuous and abstract as pride, for example, morph into a vice?
Let’s look at three damaging behaviors/mindsets that can undermine your marriage’s/relationship’s greater potential.
Relationship Help: 3 Relationship Vices to Overcome
Feeling prideful of an accomplishment isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing. Pride is problematic when it reaches an excess, when it prevents you from seeing that you are an equal to others rather than a superior. Excessive pride blocks humility, an essential ingredient in intimate relationships.
The overly prideful person rarely apologizes for wrongdoings or missteps and remains blind to his/her role in any marital/relationship problems that may exist. Pride narrows your ability to take perspective, which often places you above your spouse/partner, rather than side-by-side to him/her as equals.
So if you’re one of the people who lets his/her “pride get in the way,” try practicing humility in your relationship on a daily basis.
Greed is a voracious, egocentric hunger that is never satisfied. It prevents you from experiencing the gifts of the present moments, those cherished “now” moments with your loved one. The person who struggles with greed always wants more (more money, greater status, more possessions, power…) and cannot (or will not) “settle.”
The person who suffers from this vice falsely believes s/he is in control—but this is an illusion of epic proportions. When the hunger of greed is present, you are no longer in the driver’s seat of your life; instead, you are driven and steered, a marionette to the vice of wanting more and more.
To exist in an ever-present state of wanting blinds you to the gifts of what is—the gifts of your relationship, the gifts of your life. This isn’t to say that you should settle for something that is damaging to you or that you shouldn’t work to improve your marriage/relationship or your life. But when greed is at work, you will rarely be satisfied with your life conditions, no matter what happens.
The vice of slothfulness is one of inaction—remaining idle and failing to take the required action needed. We all have moments of slothfulness, those moments of feeling sluggish and not wanting to do anything. And for our busy and hectic lives, moments of doing nothing at times is a welcome gift.
Inactivity becomes a marital/relationship problem when it fuels an unhealthy relationship status quo, when you (and your partner) fail to do the work that all marriages/relationships require. At its most extreme form, slothfulness leads to a disengagement and indifference that engulfs the relationship, turning your relationship into a non-relationship.
Relationship complacency is a breeding ground for slothful behavior—when you assume that your relationship will take care of itself, when you hope that your spouse’s/partner’s complaints will magically resolve themselves without you, when the belief that love will conquer the mundane troubles that all couples face, then the vice of slothfulness has taken over.
It’s not easy to own our vices, to acknowledge the behaviors that undermine rather than help. The biggest step you can take is to honestly observe yourself, to monitor your behaviors (and mindsets) that may be blocking your relationship’s potential. But to do this, you cannot let the very behaviors you might need to change (for example: pride, greed and slothfulness) prevent you from seeing that these same behaviors may be damaging your relationship.
Dr. Rich Nicastro