Most times, the things that kill any relationship quickly are so minor and too petite to point at. I have seen in the past some relationships which right from the beginning weren’t just meant to be, and there were some where both partners knew that they were meant for each other but the relationship needed lots of work from both of them to sail through.

You may be wondering reasons why couples who seemed so in love with each other suddenly starts drifting away and ending the relationship at a point. And sometimes when a concerned friend to both parties decides to inquire on what really caused the gap that led to the break up, you get an answer like, ‘’we don’t even know what happened along the line’’. Truth is, no couple who have at one time seemed to be so in love ever wished to have less passion or attraction towards each other, never! So what happened to that once beautiful relationship?

There is no perfect relationship anywhere and there is no perfect man or woman anywhere in the world. I have read so many times when and where in most cases women describe the kind of men they want as partners. Sometimes when I read about those features they look for in their men, I just laugh and shake my head. Not because they are not being realistic about what they want (everyone knows what he or she looks out first in a soon-to-be partner, its normal), but even when you are able to get your type of partner, if maturity doesn’t come to play between the both of you, that union may head towards dissolution as soon as it starts.

Photo credit: educationdynamics

You may be looking out for some features without taking into consideration those salient things that can make the relationship last long. No matter how complete you think your partner is, there are times and situations you’d get so angry with your partner and then you start thinking ‘’this is not what I wished for’’. What kills a relationship or relationship killers are many and most times they are very petite that one may even be ashamed to point at as the cause for the break up or dissolution.

What you should know is that, arguing with your partner sometimes, getting mad at him or her, not talking to him/her when angry etc., are parts and ingredients of a healthy union or relationship, but the ability to resolve any issues quickly and come back to the loving arms of your partner is what makes the relationship colourful. It shows how matured, tolerant and compatible the both of you are towards each other. Trials are part and parcel of every relationship and every couple MUST have disagreements once in a while.

When in 1999 Dr. John Gottman published the book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, he highlighted four factors or things that kill any relationship quickly, and these four factors he called the ‘the four horsemen of the apocalypse’.

These four horsemen also known as relationship killers or killers of relationship are the essential barriers to resolving conflict. As I have stated earlier, it’s a very normal thing for couples to fight, but in a situation where lovers or couples deliberately refuse to get their problems resolved, surely they could be visiting the state’s department responsible for divorce or dissolution of marriage in a matter of time (if already married).

Dr. John Gottman mentioned the following as habits and things that kill any relationship quickly;

  • Criticisms

This is the very first point and Criticism has to do with complaining and nagging about some errors and defects in your partner, especially when it has to do with the other person not carrying out a particular tasks in the home or pointing it out clearly to him/her the number of times your partner has failed to do something.

  • Defensiveness

While you are being defensive during a little issue that pops up, you are sending a clear message to your partner that you really don’t care whatever he or she has to say at that particular moment in time. Another point to note is that, being defensive during such time means you also don’t care how your partner feels.

Defensiveness, however has only goal and that is escalating the problem further which is not hygienic in any relationship. When this happens, you end up putting all the responsibilities on your partner. Not showing responsibility to issues is one among many factors or things that kill any relationship quickly.

  • Stonewalling

In Stonewalling, partners are quick to withdraw during any conversation even when both of them are physically present in a room. This happens more regularly among the men folks and you hear them saying, ‘’please, am not ready for this’’.

  • Contempt

Among these factors capable or things that kill any relationship quickly, the three up are very normal in any relationship and can be managed to an extent. In contempt, you totally disregard your partner by showing that attitude of ‘’you are lower than me intellectually or morally’’. Things like making fun of your partner in a mean way or correcting things they say unnecessarily are signs of contempt. Thus by doing so, you end up reducing your partner’s self worth.


  • Third party interference

I once read about a young lady of 25 years of age who’d only recently got married to her husband. This lady was in the habit of picking up the phone to call her parents whenever there was an issue between them. The husband who obviously couldn’t take his wife’s ‘’childish’’ character of running to her parents, woke one morning and decided he was done with the marriage. And that was the end of a less than 2 years marriage. All effort to reconcile them and even when the woman realized her mistakes, fell on deaf ears of the man.

If i may ask, isn’t that too little a thing to have terminated that union?

This brings us to the issue of compatibility for both partners before entering that almighty contract called marriage.

  • How compatible are both of you?

From the above story of that lady, one would ask if the man didn’t observe that character of hers before they got married. Remember that before they tied the knot at the altar, they weren’t living as married people but the moment they got under one roof, the true characters of both partners will come to the open and those things you never saw will be glaring right before you.

So many relationships and marriages have gone sour due to incompatibility of both partners. Knowing if you are compatible or not should be one of the things to look out for while dating and getting to know each other.

  • Not being Honest

In the year 2008, while in the university as a student, a friend narrated to me how her father without the permission of his wife (her mother) and other rest members of her family had sold their home in a comfortable area in Lagos and had bought a land somewhere in a less developed area to put up a structure.

When the mother and other members of the family learnt of their father’s action, it caused a great rift that saw the family splitting up. Everyone took to their mother’s side and the man was left practically lonely. That was the end of a more than 3 decades marriage.

The house he intended building never saw the foundation, he took ill after he was ejected by the new owner of the house and had to live with a friend. Few months later he died from the sickness.

Truth is, if he had been honest enough to come out clean of his intention to sell their home, no one would have agreed with such proposed action and probably he could still be alive today with his family in one piece.

  • Failure to complement your partner’s appearance.

Simple words like, ‘’you look good or amazing in that dress’’, ‘’wow, I love your new hair’’, or saying a simple ‘’I love you’’, go a long way in strengthening your relationships and absence of such complements sometimes have been pointed out to be one of the many things that kill any relationship quickly without you knowing.

Fact is, Women love their looks to be complemented by their partners, while men on the other hand love when they are appreciated for being a dotting husband and father.

There are situations when men do not take into cognizance of their partner’s appearance or when she does a new hair or buy new clothes or even get her nails done. If you are a man and you are like this, you need to wake up ASAP.

Reason is, when you complement your partner, it gives her so much confidence at home or elsewhere and when you show appreciation to your husband, he tends to do more in providing and making sure you and the kids are well taken care of. There is no special magic to it.

  • Keeping secrets from your partner

Just like point 6 up where my friend narrated to me of how her father sold the only place they called home without telling anyone but kept it as secret to himself until the new owners came to eject them, keeping secrets is never advisable in any relationship that is altar bound or if already married.

If during courtship and you aren’t sure of the direction of the relationship, you might decide to hold some facts about you from the other person, that is pretty OK. But when both of you are convinced you want to be together in the future, withholding secrets from the other could be a very wrong move. It could be worse when your partner accidentally stumbles on them.

Once a lady was confused if to tell her husband about her personal savings in her bank account which had amounted to about N1.6M in Nigerian currency (app. $3,500). Even though the husband was rich enough, so many people advised her not to let him know about the money on the ground that let it be her stashed away cash she can always fall back on in the event of any problem between the husband and her. How she went about it I wouldn’t know.

Being secretive in a relationship or marriage is like sowing a wrong seed which will grow to germinate one day. And as we all know, as long as there is life, there is absolutely nothing hidden that will not be exposed. When the secret is found, trust is broken and a foundation for suspicion and assumptions is laid.

  • Keeping malice for long

Personally, keeping malice is childish and it’s another killer of a relationship. Yeah, a great relationship killer. Malice kept even for a second is not healthy at all. Most readers of this article can point to one or two situations or a story they must have heard where keeping malice was the sole reason one partner had to leave a particular relationship.

How could you be in love with someone and still decide not to communicate after a little disagreement? Does it make sense? Absolutely it doesn’t add up.

There is this story of a woman who had to apologize to her husband on one of the top Nigerian blogs she was sure and knew her husband visits regularly. The husband had left the home for almost three days after a normal couple’s disagreement. What kind of responsible man does that? Not even thinking of his young kids or the wife going to bed lonely and sad. What if something happened that needed him to protect his family as a man?

Keeping malice to me is the height of childishness between couples. Surely there would be disagreement but after that, you both should trash it out right there and never bring it up the next day or any other day after that. Whenever there is a disagreement between couples and you decide to hold grudges against each other, both of you can’t really build a future together because you’re living in the past at that moment.

In conclusion therefore, marriage isn’t a bed of roses, no it’s not. Marriage is about being “naked and not ashamed of it”. It is a place where oneness is at its maximum or peak. Check and evaluate your relationship/marriage properly with these factors, try putting them into practise to avoid those little mistakes and salient things that kill any relationship quickly.

Any experience or addition? Kindly air your thoughts in the comment section.

Thank you.

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