In life and love, you may think you're supposed to always focus on the positive instead of the negative. However, unless you become aware of your own hurtful attitudes or actions -- so that you can correct them -- your chances of staying in love 'til death do you part are close to zero. To have your marriage last a lifetime, avoid these 10 common mistakes:
1. Talking "at" instead of "with" your mate. Let his or her body language be your guide. When you're talking "at" your partner, he or she will tense up. When you're talking "with" your spouse, he or she will relax.
2. Tuning out -- instead of tuning in -- to what your mate is saying. When you mind begins to wander, stop and remember that what your partner is saying is important to him or her.
3. Forgetting to thank your mate. Not thanking your spouse for being considerate, thoughtful or kind makes him or her feel unappreciated and foolish for caring about you.
4. Getting defensive instead of saying, "I'm sorry." When you mess up, the sooner you sincerely say, "I'm sorry," the sooner your mate can stop resenting you.
5. Always saying, "I'm sorry," yet never changing. An apology buys you another chance. However, if you keep making the same mistake, apologies not only seem empty, but annoying as well.
6. Being repeatedly late. Frequently keeping your partner waiting is not only inconsiderate, it's arrogant.
7. Playing the victim. This behavior not only accuses your spouse of hurting you, but adds insult to injury by implying that he or she is doing it intentionally, when that may not be the case.
8. Jumping to conclusions. Presuming that you know what your partner feels -- and why -- without first getting all the facts is only going to push him or her away.
9. Badmouthing your spouse behind his or her back. This not only adds to the list of secrets you keep from your mate, but also tells others how little you respect your partner.
10. Thinking that doing something once is enough. If you only temporarily stop making the above mistakes -- and don't continue to monitor yourself to keep from slipping back into bad habits -- you're teasing your partner with changing. You're also kidding yourself that you're committed to improving your marriage, when really you're not.