Marriage is work. Especially if you want one of those long-term, secure, gospel-witnessing marriages.

But killing a marriage? That’s easy.

You might be surprised by how effortless the whole thing can be. In less than 12 months, and in just five easy steps, you too can kill a marriage. Here’s how.

1. Expect Perfection

Forget John’s comment that those who claim to be without sin are liars (1 John 1:8). Instead, fix your mind on the faultless spouse of your imagination while diligently marking your partner’s every transgression. Ruminate on their failures. Let each incident be part of the grand narrative of your spouse’s incompetence. Forget Paul’s counsel—let the rivers of bitterness rage (Eph. 4:31–32). Console yourself by remembering you’re the victim.

Dwell on perfection: physical perfection, emotional perfection, spiritual perfection—think on all of it—and be deeply offended at your spouse’s shortcomings. When hope begins to raise its head, shame it with memories of how your spouse has failed in the same way multiple times. Downplay any incremental progress. The truth is they will always hurt you and you can never trust them.

On those occasions when they meet your expectations, do not under any circumstances celebrate with them. Instead, seem vaguely annoyed that they finally lived up to their call. What’s more, assume the only reason they’re doing it is to get something from you—money, children, sex. You know there must be ulterior motives somewhere; hunt them down. Whatever you do, don’t look to Calvary amid your discontent. Because if you do, you may notice that the only perfect person hung on a cross for you.

2. Emote, Don’t Communicate

The roll-eyes emoji has nothing on you. Listening is for suckers, and speaking softly is for the weak. Don’t let Paul’s exhortation to speak only what edifies get in the way of a perfect sigh of frustration or lipcurl of disgust. Your emotions are the arbiter of truth, and they should be given full voice at all times. Though the tongue can set fires hot enough to rival hell, don’t restrain it. Give it free reign because that’s just you being authentic.

Communication that is full of grace (Col 4:6), love (1 Pet. 3:10) and truth (Eph. 4:15)? These commands were obviously written for the super-spiritual, or at least for someone whose spouse is more capable than yours is. Being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (Jas. 1:19) requires time and energy that frankly you don’t have and they don’t deserve. It’s easier, quicker, and more satisfying to yell, stomp, pout, or freak out. And while you may not have time to listen to your spouse, they should always stop and pay attention to you right away.

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