Part One: Living As Roommates: Easy Ways to Destroy Your Marriage

In this first in a series on living as roommates vs. living as husband and wife Dr. Wall takes a sarcastic look at what it’s like to be married, living as roommates. Since this isn’t satisfying, people divorce in spades. Maybe they should have tried living as husbands and wives instead.  For the second in the series click here.

Marriage should be honored by all.

Hebrews 13:4

Oftentimes clients will tell me they live like roommates. They often use this language to justify their interest in pursuing a divorce. Why stay married if you are just living as roommates? I’d rather ask: Why live as roommates if you are married? What a complete waste of time. You don’t have to divorce your spouse. Just divorce living as roommates and start being husband and wife. You’d be amazed how much better it is to be married as husband and wife.

For those of you with a cynical bent, who would like to know how to simply destroy your marriage and would like to learn how to hate your first spouse well into your second or third marriage, here’s how to live as roommates:

Live together before you are married. This is the quickest way to become roommates because when you live together without being married, that’s what you are!! Woo-hoo! Sex without commitment! Share the bills! Save money! Free love! You can still go drinking with your buddies and she can’t say nothin’ ‘cuz she ain’t your wife! Is there a more perfect arrangement! And if you’re the woman, you can imagine that you are married, without being married! You can learn to give of yourself sexually without commitment! You can learn to be a nag, because you have NO clout regarding his Internet usage or his video gaming or his obsession with empty beer bottles. You can fight about commitment, or lack thereof. Then, after your wedding, if you don’t break up in spades first, you’ll have a whole bunch of bad habits that can take you into your marriage!

Give your heart to your children. Your responsibility is to your kids, not your roommate! Give all your attention to your kids and put your spouse on hold. You’re busy right? What with work and bills and housework and yard work and the kids’ activities and spending time with the kids? You ain’t got time for no stinkin’ spouse. We can always spend time with each other when the kids are grown and gone. Meanwhile, never get any babysitter. You don’t trust anyone else with your kids. Make no arrangements to spend time alone with your spouse. You’ll be on the fast track to being roommates in no time.

Don’t lift a finger in the house. You do all the outside work or you work hard outside the home more than her or your job is physical and hers is mental so you are more tired than her. Hang on to excuses and DO NOT CHANGE. Let her handle the kids and the house and the bills and the errands. You got hobbies. You got responsibilities. This is who you are. You are doing it for the family. You are BIZ-EE. Take no ownership in the home. Leave your crap all over. Never help pick up. Only pick up your stuff, never your spouse’s. Remind your spouse to pick up his crap. If he doesn’t, remind him again. If he does pick up or help tell him he didn’t do it right and then scoff at him and do it right again, right there in front of him, to let him know how disappointing he is to you. Continually buy stuff and have nowhere to put it. Clutter up your house with as much stuff as you can so no one will want to relax there let alone come home. Make sure your house is trashed at all times. Complain the house is a mess, but do nothing about it. Don’t work together as a team on the household duties. Don’t train the kids to help either. Do it all yourself. Build resentments. Keep all of them close to your heart.  Roommates always fight about housework.  Really work at this.

Don’t have any affection. Roommates aren’t touchy-feely!  Don’t hug, kiss, hold hands or cuddle. You don’t like public displays of affection. Besides, the kids act all creepy about it. You’re uncomfortable touching. You’re just not the affectionate type. You didn’t grow up that way. This is who you are. Accept me for who I am. You are crowding me. Buy his and her La-Z-Boys. Make sure they are far enough apart so that you can’t touch each other. Put a side table between you. Buy a king size bed. Sleep in your little corner of the bed.

Don’t sleep together. Use whatever means necessary to drum up reasons NOT to be in the same bed. Roommates don’t sleep together for heaven’s sake. He snores. She wakes up easy. She has nervous leg syndrome. She’s too hot. She’s too cold. Fall asleep on the couch watching TV. Stay up all hours of the night. Have your kid in your bed. Put the kid between you. Or the dog. Or the dogs. Do this for years. This way your spouse and you won’t have to touch each other. You’d just sweat anyway. You are independent and want to make your own decisions and it’s more important to you that your dog or kid is happy than your spouse. Meet dog and kids needs first. Absolutely. Be offended if your spouse is offended. Fight about this. Make your point and don’t let up. Frown a lot.

Don’t flirt either. Don’t banter. Don’t tease. Don’t joke around. Take everything as a put-down. Scoff at your spouse’s jokes. Don’t laugh and act all serious and stuff. Put him down for being immature and then put on your I’m-better-than-you look. Walk around with your chin in the air.

Only have sex when you want to. It would be terrible to have to drum up your will to choose to have sex because you need to. Roommates aren’t sexual with each other, anyway! Since you don’t think about sex much, you must not need it. And if you don’t need it, your spouse is a perv and a control freak for wanting it. You’ve decided he doesn’t need it either. Why can’t he just realize that we don’t need sex to be married? Lighten up all ready. Don’t take care of yourself. Only dress nice for other people. Don’t look nice just for your husband. Only wear sweats after work and flannels to bed. Don’t let him see you naked. Absolutely destroy any semblance of sensuality in your personhood at all. Be all self conscious about your body and assume he thinks the same even though he tells you you are beautiful. Don’t believe him if he compliments you about your appearance. Tell yourself that sex is bad or dirty or wrong. Never bring up sex at all. Pretend you are a sexless creature. Don’t initiate sex…ever. Act all put out if your husband does. Don’t get involved. Just lie there and act all bored, so he’ll get the hint and leave you alone. Don’t figure out your own sexuality and how to enjoy it with him. Don’t tell him or show him what works for you. You don’t want him getting any ideas. Get all mad and self-righteous if you go somewhere and there is an attractive woman. Complain that you are tired or sick or stressed or too busy or the kids aren’t asleep or company is coming or the house isn’t picked up or he hasn’t helped you hardly at all or he’s never home or he didn’t shower or he only touches you when he wants sex or he doesn’t spend enough time with the kids or he spends too much money or too much time in the garage or…or….or…

Chide your spouse for not being sexual enough with you. Mock her. Poke fun at her for not being interested enough in sex. Ridicule her in front of your friends. Scold her for not being amorous. When she’s not sexual with you when you want as often as you want, pout or get mad or withdraw or don’t come home. That’ll show her how much it affects you. Let her know how it feels to be rejected. Tell her she must not love you. Warn her that if you don’t “get it” from her you’ll get it from someone or someplace else. Tell her you never “get any.” Every time she touches you, try to get something going. This way you will train her to never want to touch you. Look at porn a lot. Try to get her motor running by showing her porn videos. Make crude remarks about other women and gawk at them. Worship yourself by masturbating to yourself by yourself to imaginary dots on a screen. Compare your wife to all these imaginary images. Mourn her body isn’t like this or that. Make sex all about you. Convince her that you are selfish and that you are only thinking about you. Suggest that you need to pick up your sex lives together by play-acting all kinds of immoral sexual scenarios or by swapping partners or getting another man or woman in your bed. Or sleep with a woman? Maybe she’s a lesbian? You could get into that. Absolutely, positively remove meaning and connection and love and tenderness and caring and oneness and uniqueness and preciousness and mutuality from marital sexuality.

Keep your money separate. Roommates don’t put their money together!  You don’t want anyone looking over your shoulder. You don’t fight as much when you have your money separate. You’d never agree about money anyway. This way you can have separate lives, separate dreams and separate hopes and aspirations. Have separate credit cards and separate bank accounts. Don’t talk about money. If your spouse brings it up get all mad and huffy and protective and defensive and remind him or her that your money is your money. Talk often about “my money.” Complain that’s it’s not fair. How come it’s never fair? He spends too much money on this. She spends too much money on that. I earn more. Well you should equal it out. Quit complaining. You don’t respect my job. You don’t earn enough. You’re never home. You just go to work for yourself. It’s all about you. Rub it in. That’s it.

Don’t spend any time together. Roommates don’t worry about spending time together!  Work separate shifts. Each takes turns watching the kids so the other can work and you don’t have to use daycare. Do this for years. Tell yourselves that you are doing this to save money. Note how everything your spouse does bugs you. Note how you are enjoying your kids more than your spouse. Have your own circle of friends. Tell your friends your problems instead of our spouse. Complain to your friends how cold your spouse is and get them all mad against you for being with such a terrible spouse. Have them remind you you deserve better. Drink a lot with them. Dance with other people and tell yourself you just wanna have fun and your spouse is boring and never wants to socialize. Tell yourself that you and your spouse are just incompatible. Don’t grow up. That’d be boring. You only go around once in life. Have it your way. Be mad your spouse is mad at this and blame your spouse for being mad or wanting to spend time with you or being upset that you’d rather be with your friends than him. Then accuse him of being a control freak. What a fail-proof plan! You love your independence. You shouldn’t have ever gotten married.

Tell everyone what a loser your spouse is. Who cares?  He or she’s just your roommate! Tell your friends, your co-workers, your boss, your sisters and your mother. Especially your mother. Take her calls in front of your husband while she tries to talk you into leaving your worthlesspieceofcraphusband. Then accuse your husband of having an anger problem when he gets upset. Accuse him that he doesn’t like your friends or your mother. Better yet, tell someone of the opposite sex how bad your spouse is! Ponder how warm this other person is. He listens to you. Not like your husband. She accepts you and doesn’t scold you. Not like your wife. How could you have been so dumb? You didn’t know what real love was until now. Wow!

If your spouse disagrees with you on anything, get all mad about it. You aren’t supposed to tell your roommate what to do!  You are right on everything. Why can’t your spouse figure this out? You don’t need anyone to tell you what to do. If she disagrees with you, that automatically means she is criticizing you. If she brings up ANY concern it means she’s complaining. Absolutely withdraw. Or fight back and say mean things to let her know how silly and immature she is that she gets all upset about the stupidest things. Mock her concerns. Make cynical sounds with your throat and roll your eyes a lot. This will really get her mad and then you can poke her about that. Cajole her. Make her feel stupid, and tell her that any idea she has is NOT worth the time of day. Remind her over and over again that you are right and she is wrong. Be offended all the time.

Don’t ever talk about Jesus or God or heaven or hell or the meaning of life or your needs or your goals or your aspirations or your hopes or fears or worries or doubts or frustrations or needs or wants or anything that has any meaningful value at all. Roommates stay to themselves! You just don’t talk much. That’s just not you. Remind her that that is not you. Only talk about how this is not you. Don’t let her in. Absolutely refuse to grow on this. This is who you are. Yourself and you suit you fine.

He who does these things will never have to worry about being happily married! Keep this up and you won’t have to be roommates very long, either.

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For the second in this series on contrasting living as roommates vs. husbands and wives:

Contrasting Living as Roommates to Living As Husband and Wife

In this second blog in a series on living as roommates, Dr. Wall scoffs at the notion that living together is preparation for marriage and suggests instead it’s training each other to be roommates instead of husband and wife.

Check out these other blogs by Dr. Wall:

A Brief Primer On Cuddling

Dr. Wall discusses the importance of marital cuddling. Marriages without cuddling struggle with coldness and anger; those with regular, dependable cuddling are marked by closeness, connection and warmth.

The Dark Side of Anger

Dr. Wall explains that there are two sides of anger: a good side and a bad side.  We need to learn how to listen to the good side of anger and ignore the bad side of anger.

Marriage, Money and Cohabiting

Dr. Wall suggests that many couples learn to keep their money separate when they cohabit before marriage and that they bring this bad habit with them into marriage.  For other articles on cohabitation click here.

Conversations After Porn

Dr. Wall has an imaginary couple discuss their sex life after porn is no longer part of their lives.

“Honey, I’m Sorry. I Can’t Tonight. I Have An Excuse.”

Dr. Wall banters about some misconceptions around marital sexuality.

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Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

About Dr. Bing

Dr. Bing Wall began Heart to Heart Communication, L.C. (offices in Ames and Urbandale) in 1995 with the goal of applying a strength and mentoring approach to helping people in their relationships through education and therapy. Prior to completing his M.S. and Ph.D. at Iowa State University in the area of Family Studies, Human Development and Marriage and Family Therapy, he was a pastor for 15 years.

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5 Responses to Part One: Living As Roommates: Easy Ways to Destroy Your Marriage

  1. Nana January 19, 2010 at 4:57 am #

    Nice…love the format too.

  2. Nicole November 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I liked everything about the article except the last one about religion. All of the pointers can apply to people of any faith, you don’t have to be a Christian for the rest to apply, nor do you need to be a Christian to have a successful marriage.

  3. Dr. Bing December 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Agreed. The last point in the blog was about the couple talking about their shared meaning of life and goals and where they want to go in life. I’m amazed how many couples do NOT discuss this! YIKES! We’re in this together, right?

  4. Vonnie May 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    This article describes the current life I’m living. I had to read it to him. He said I sure picked a hell of a time.. He’s sleepy and I’m bugging him, that I shoulda knocked before I went to his room. He began acting like he was asleep while I continued reading to him. I found out about his infidelity January, 2012; forgave him in April, when he moved back in, I conceived his child January, 2013, but we live in separate rooms from that last moment we created our newborn. I tell him I’m tired of living this way. His response is do whatever u need to do. I asked him if he even loves me. He responded of course I do, you are the mother of my children. I’ll always love you. Then why do we sleep in separate rooms? He said cuz I snore. He doesn’t know what he wants.

  5. Dr. Bing May 13, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Tough stuff. Living as roommates is pretty tough on a marriage. So is an affair. So is living in different rooms. This won’t do for either of you. I hope you can get some help from a competent counselor to help you work this through. Both of you withdrawing isn’t going to work. One of you trying to work on it and the other ignoring the other’s efforts isn’t going to work. But if both parties are willing to work on it, there’s hope. Even if he won’t go to counseling you could go by yourself and get some ideas on how to handle the situation so it doesn’t get worse! One is better than none.

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