Marriage Deal Breakers


As I was perusing the list of my favorite blogs, Forever Ashley’s post entitled, “Does Your Marriage Have a Deal-Breaker?”, stuck out to me and I found myself beginning to question and think about the points she makes as it relates to my marriage. Do I, in fact, have a deal-breaker? Is there one thing that would mean the end of my marriage?

Now, this concept of a deal-breaker is simple. Ask yourself: what, if any, is the one act that would mean the dissolution of your marriage? It is understood that when one enters a marriage it should be grounded in love, respect, honesty, trust, and so on. If that holds true, and people enter marriage with the best of intentions, then why does the divorce rate continue to be so high? Do people really jump ship that easily?

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When my husband and I met we happened to have just ended our respective relationships and weren’t eager to jump into another one so quickly. In fact, a relationship was hardly on either of our minds that evening. However, it’s funny to see how connections happen and how love develops when you meet that right person at that distinct right time. We dated six months before moving in together, then after a year and a half of dating got engaged, then wed six months after that. Now, I know that appears to be swift...and it is, we both would agree.

However, the difference is during that time we were dating we took an approach we never had before previously in relationships. We were honest, wholeheartedly, with each other and were up front about what we wanted from one another. I will call these the non-negotiables. These are values that are equally important to the both of us respectively and are things we will not tolerate within our relationship. Now, your list doesn’t need to be lengthy, but the reality is that we all have at least a few. Here’s a look at a few of our non-negotiables:

I want children. Maybe two.
I want to be married when we have children.
I want to raise our family in the Christian faith.
My husband must be a non-smoker.
I want to be completely open and included in the family finances.
Cleanliness and enjoys a clean home.

Must like children and dogs.
Must take care of yourself AKA don’t let yourself go.
Share the same interests.
Accept me as I am and to not try to change me.
Let me be the man in the relationship.
Must enjoy libations.
Must have good personal/oral hygiene. 

Having an open dialogue about these non-negotiables has been the strongest bond my husband and I both share. We respect the values and opinions we have and love each other despite what’s on our ‘lists.’ 

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Now back to this topic of deal-breakers...

I honestly can’t think of one stand alone action that my husband could commit, outside of cheating or domestic violence, that would make me walk away from our marriage. I have been open with him that divorce is the absolute last option and only will be considered when all other options have been explored. For example, I asked how he felt about counseling and he’s supportive of the idea should it come to that (some cultures look down upon marriage counseling). But nonetheless, if placed in a position where I felt our vows have been violated I would personally look at the root cause of the problem.

No one cheats when things are happy at home. Typically one act is caused by issues that have had time to fester and go without being discussed. Is communication off? Are we intimate with each other? Are we continuing to show respect towards one another? Are we giving enough time to the things that matter? These would be the first things that would come to mind if I felt as though there was an imbalance in our marriage. But at the end of the day it comes down to communication and the ability to for my husband and I to share our inner thoughts and feelings without the fear of judgement or criticism.

Be sure to check out Ashley’s original post here (and show her some love as she’s this month’s featured sponsor!) and let’s discuss your thoughts. What are your non-negotiables or deal breakers?

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  1. I love your perspective on this topic and I love that you both laid out your non-negotiables from the beginning. My husband and I have a unique story as well. We actually met online (just casual friends in a few FB groups) and found we had a ton in common. We ended up chatting almost every single night. We lived in separate states so there was no "romance" it was just soul-baring friendship with someone. What did we have to lose? It was just all honesty. A year and a half after we started talking we met in person for a weekend. Two weeks later I moved to his town. Six months later we were married. Now it's 4 years later and here we are. I credit that 1.5 year of total honesty to why our marriage is so strong.

  2. This post really makes you think! I remember reading another blogger's post that was similar to this. She talked about how her pastor asked this question of her and her now husband during marriage counseling. I had never thought about it before, but it's an important thing to think about! I'm engaged right now, and I think it's good for us to think and talk about this subject so we can have strategies to avoid these deal-breakers.

  3. I believe strongly in developing deep friendships in a relationship before moving forward. I love that you and your husband laid it all out to each other early on because it is such a reward later on in your marriage to not have to guess or question each other about the things that matter the most. Honesty, I know is so cliche to say, but it’s the truth. Be open and 100% honest, even about the uncomfortable things, and you’ll find yourself in a lasting marriage. Thanks for sharing, Ashley!

  4. Congrats on your engagement! It’s a fun period between being in ‘just’ a relationship and and taking each other as husband and wife. This is an important time to discuss your values and how you both want to move forward, especially about family. The funny thing about deal-breakers or non-negotiables is that everyone has them...even if they’re small. Definitely think about what yours are and strike up a fun conversation with your fiancé. My husband and I enjoy revealing these things because the conversation turns into hours of soul-bearing and it helps us grow as a couple. I’m excited for you!

  5. This is why it's important to know the person you're marrying--my husband and I have known each other expectations for marriage from the beginning--although it's kind of funny, but my husband doesn't really have any expectations for me,--he's always said that he already knows my character and that it's impossible for me to be a bad wife. :P Sweet guy. I grew up in a country where domestic abuse is very common, where mistreatment of women is very common, so that's an area I'm very sensitive towards--I would not have married a man if he treated me as less than human.

  6. This is cute! & fun. I don't really know if we every talked about this. We find ourselves constantly communicating though about our futures, and dreams, and goals so perhaps this is like this? I guess I always grew up saying I would never marry a smoker!

  7. I love your pure honesty and I can’t agree more. To know each other’s expectations (I mean, we all have them!) is huge for any relationship. I prevents being blindsided in the future about things that could potentially end a relationship. And by the sounds of it your husband sounds like the perfect man for you! :)

  8. It really is! This conversation doesn’t have to be a serious talk but it at least needs to be had at any point in a relationship. And what you’re discussing is also important! I’d love to hear about the conversation, should the two of you have it, and see how it went. You’ll find you begin to have a deeper connection when you talk about such important things :)

  9. This is an interesting concept. I think most men and women have a list of non-negotiables, but many couples don't talk about them together. A friend of mine posted on Facebook this morning, "expectation without communication leads to conflict" and this is ringing even more true after reading your post. Thank you for sharing!

  10. I agree with yours! Thankfully by God's awesomeness, my husband far exceeded my expectations. I know that when we first started dating, we both knew what we wanted in a spouse.. things like honesty, faithfulness, Christ-follower, and willing to go wherever God leads us instead of focusing so much on success or our selfish happiness were very important to us!

  11. My husband is a fantastic and godly man.
    My only real non-negotiables is that he loves God and lives it out, loves my family, and is not harsh in his words. Also that he does what he says he will do, but we all mess up in that area, so you have to give grace for things like that :)
    Im blessed with an amazing hubby!

    Kristin // The Peculiar Treasure

  12. That’s very true! I would never have felt comfortable talking to my ex about my non-negotiables because deep down I knew he didn’t fit the type of man I needed so it’s no wonder things didn’t work out and we ended up not being good for each other. However, having learned from that experience, lead me to my husband and changed how I valued my wants and needs from our relationship. Having this understanding further brings us closer and I love how we can have these kinds of discussions- especially as life causes this topic to pop up sometimes!

  13. That’s so wonderful to hear! I love hearing testaments of God’s love and how he’s blessed you, your husband, and your family!

  14. I love this! It seems all things have a way of working out in the end and I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband share the same values.

  15. This is such a thought-inspiring post. I recently got engaged, so this is prime thinking for me. My fiance and I are also SUPER honest and open with one another and always have been, so I feel like we're at a really good place. I actually wrote a blog post also in response to an article I saw trying to rationalize cheating...I'd love your thoughts. (: