One of the most common mistakes couples make is forgetting that being a spouse comes with certain responsibilities, responsibilities that are not requisite in any other relationship. Spouses have a responsibility to revere each other above all others, to support each other and to accept imperfections. That doesn't mean that you are obligated to live with abusive or destructive behaviors but it does mean that you stop expecting more from your spouse than you do from yourself.
Your spouse is your most intimate relationship and all too often we take that closeness for granted. Instead of treating each other with respect and loving sensitivity, we often become critical and demanding. We can become so intent on trying to control or change our spouse that we neglect to look at how our own negativity and bossiness is the cancer eating away at a once happy marriage.
Those things that once attracted you to each other can become the focus of contention in a relationship where selfishness and a need for control are present. Perhaps you once admired his relaxed, non-judgmental nature but now you call him lazy and become irritated with his laid back life-style. Unconditional love cannot exist in a relationship where one or both partners are critical of the other.
Begin today to become your spouse's advocate instead of his/her critical parent. If you have differences, air them in private, never in public and never in front of your children. Voice your thoughts by using "I statements" instead of demeaning or criticizing each other. Remember, every word you speak and every action you make should be to benefit the relationship, not to gain control or dominance over one another.