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To the Brink: 11 Mistakes I Made that Nearly Ended My Marriage

By Cody |

A few years ago my marriage nearly came to an end. My wife and I hit a point where we had to make a decision to either stick it out or go our separate ways.

Casey has been rather open on her blog about the marital problems that we faced.  I, however, have tried to forget that that phase of our relationship ever happened. Since that is impossible, instead I always try to avoid what got us to that point in the first place.

I was shocked when my wife finally admitted just how bad our marriage had become. It was a Sunday, after she returned from a trip to Utah. We went to church and sat in a pew together as we listened to the speakers. She had been struggling through the side effects of Lupron, a drug to help her with PCOS, and that day’s side effect seemed to be anxiety.  She put my arm around her shoulders and she leaned her head against my shoulder.

We stayed in that position for the entire first hour of church, and then we went our separate ways for the remainder of church that day. A short while later, my wife pulled me out of whatever class I had been attending and took me into a room that wasn’t being used.

It wasn’t the first time that she had pulled me into a vacant room at church. Those conversations were usually about struggles with depression, and that’s what I expected her to want to talk about. Instead, she had me sit down and she told me that she was leaving me.

We both made mistakes in our marriage that led us down that particular road. I’ve thought a lot about what our marriage was like and what I had done wrong. These are the mistakes that I consider to be the biggest — mistakes that I wish I had avoided to make us happier throughout those first 9 years together.

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Mistakes I Made that Nearly Made My Marriage Fall Apart

Constant Teasing

I teased my wife—a lot. In my mind, the teasing was always good natured and could never be taken seriously, but because it happened so often, my wife started to take it personally. Sometimes the teasing went from good natured fun into more of the ribbing I would have used with male college roommates before I got married. Nine years of that kind of teasing wore on her until she couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t realize that it really bothered her until it was too late.

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About Cody



Cody is a father, husband, practicing attorney, and loyal football fan who is outnumbered by girls in every area of his life. He's also been known to drink maple syrup straight out of the bottle. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cody's latest posts →

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33 thoughts on “To the Brink: 11 Mistakes I Made that Nearly Ended My Marriage

  1. neal says:

    Cody, this is a great post. Very personal and very specific, and I think I can learn from a lot of what you write here. I’ve gotten lazy too. It can’t be easy to make all this public…and yet once you do, you can never hide from it again, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. I wonder if that’s freeing. I wonder if making your past mistakes public seems like it’s helping you to improve? Or was that one terrible day at church enough to keep you on the straight and narrow?

    One of the reasons I write is so that when my kids are older they can see that their parents weren’t perfect, that we screwed up a lot, had a lot of anxiety, and yet we still made it through to a happy place at the end. I don’t want them to ever feel like their trials are so big and unique that no-one understands them. And having a record like the one you’ve put here is probably one of the best teaching tools I could imagine.

    Anyway, liked this post a lot.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Neal–Thankfully, I learned my lesson from that one terrible day at church. Writing those things was pretty depressing, however, because it was the first time I really put it all down on paper and realized just how bad it was collectively. But whether I had decided to write for Babble or not, those past mistakes would not have happened again, but I’ve learned that part of working on a marriage is progressing and I think writing on this blog is allowing me to make more improvements in my marriage. Like you, I hope my kids learn from my mistakes, and this is a way for them to see what kind of mistakes I made. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Timmi says:

    That was a beautiful post. The fact that you posted about your marriage, and the ugly parts, is something that many couples struggle and sometimes refuse to do. I gotta give the two of you props for making your marriage work. Its really hard and takes work. I’m glad you ended on a good note. Hope you have many more happy years ahead of you.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Timmi–It wasn’t easy to write that post. By the time I got to the end and I realized I could keep going it got pretty depressing to think about the number of embarrassing mistakes I had made in my marriage. I’m just glad we made the decision to make things better, because we really are very happy now.

  3. Amanda C says:

    Such a thought-provoking post! I think all marriages have their own personal set of struggles and difficulties, along with the good times. I’ve followed Casey’s blog since, gosh, 2008 I think, and I swear I never could tell any inkling of any issues. Your marriage actually sounded perfect, ideal. I’m glad that you too toughed it out and were strong enough to keep it together. I’ve been married for 16 years and boy they sure are right when they say it’s not easy! I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but ‘they’re’ right on the money. It takes hard work from all parties. Great post!

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Amanda C–I think we pretended for a long time that we didn’t have any problems, and that was a contributing factor to the demise of our marriage. We take a different approach to marriage now, and it has worked wonders. Thanks for commenting.

  4. A really brave post about something incredibly personal. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  5. Beth Arky says:

    Cody, you ask “Why did she stay?” As someone who can relate far too well, all I can say is, read your post. You spell it out beautifully. Marriage is a partnership and both partners need to own up to mistakes and try to do better to make it work. You’re doing that. Good for you! Wishing you both all the best.

  6. Sarah says:

    Your post kinda resonated with me and life lately, but I wanted to say that I’m glad you both have been able to turn things around and work on the issues and make things better. (Your wife? She’s pretty darn amazing and I adore her, and her happiness makes me smile. So I’m glad for you both.)

  7. Daniel Incandela says:

    Cody – thank you for writing with such honesty and transparency. You have no idea, what it means to be able to read this. Thank you, thank you.


  8. NMCD says:

    interesting an important post cheapened by Babbles insistence of milking it for ten click throughs with photos.

  9. Mary Beth says:

    thank you for bring an analysis to issues from the husband’s side. refreshing! mostly we just think women analyze these things.

  10. Nicole says:

    Very nice, not blaming her for everything but also not letting yourself be completely at fault. That is how it usually works, but most people are too stubborn to admit they were wrong. Glad both of you are working together. Beautifully put together by the way!

  11. Janet says:

    Marriage is hard. No one tells you that though. Alot of what you said sounds very familiar. My marriage ended, but there was “other stuff” going on that made me not want to work it out. I’m glad you were able to find a better way and that you are all happier now.

  12. Jaina says:

    Thank you for your honesty and courage. All of the things that you stated are common mistakes, but their effects can be devistating. I’m so glad for you, your wife, and kids that you worked it out and I hope your story help others who are facing the same thing!

  13. Ashley says:

    It’s amazing how much the little things matter. While I feel that my husband and I have a very good marriage, I see us in some parts of this post. We’ve definitely made some of these mistakes. Teasing used to be a problem ealy in our relationship. My husband thought it was all in good fun; that’s how he behaves with his guy buddies afterall. He didn’t realize how much it was hurting me until I finally spoke up. We came up with a stategy after that. I have what I call a “teasing quota”. I can only handle getting teased so many times in one day, and once the ‘quota’ is met, I’m done. So when his teasing starts to become too much for me, I tell him he’s about to reach his quota for the day and he knows it’s time to back off.
    Making our relationship a priority has been another hurdle. It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily responsibilities of full-time jobs, paying the bills, taking care of the kid, cleaning the house, etc. that making time for each other falls by the wayside. Luckily, we have a lot of family support, so finding a babysitter once or twice a month for date nights isn’t difficult.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Ashley–I don’t think most guys realize that girls don’t just sit around and tease each other all day like guys do. It really surprised me to learn just how much it hurt her. I’m glad you two found a system that works for you.

  14. Melissa says:

    I loved this. Thank you for being so open and truthful. Congratulations for finding ways to move past it.

  15. Crystal says:

    Was there anything she could have said to you or shown you that would have made you realize the situation sooner and realize your part in it sooner? This sounds like something I could be writing about my child’s father now. I’m glad the two of you are doing well!

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Crystal–she tried to tell me that all of those things were hurting her, but I just didn’t listen. I look back at it now and I can’t see her doing anything different that would have changed things. At some point, I just had to realize that I was being a bad husband.

  16. Melanie says:

    Talk about some serious soul searching…
    Thank you for this post.
    I wish you both the very best.

  17. Chad says:

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I’m glad your relationship has come out better on the other end and maybe sharing your story will help some other people see what is happening in their relationships.

  18. katie says:

    Dude, it takes a lot of love to write a post like this. Much is familiar which makes me sigh. No one really understands how hard one must work at marriage until they are in up to their eyeballs. Relationships are HARD. Thanks for sharing this Cody, I’m glad you two made it through.

  19. Lorie Erasga-Taroma says:

    I feel a lump in my throat while reading your article…so glad that you guys make it through.
    You know, I already share your article to my husband :)

  20. Denise says:

    Great post. I had much deja vu as I am divorced but have a beautiful man now in my life. This beautiful wonderful man works on the things that ruined my first marriage as you warned. The competition, the lazy-these all echoed reminders from a sad past. This was a great one! Thank you!

  21. Sandy says:

    Your story was enlightening… I feel two ways about what you wrote. On the one hand, it takes a strong person to own up to their mistakes and fix them and I applaud you for that.

    On the other hand, even though you knew you weren’t being the best husband you could be or your wife deserved, you didn’t change until she made up her mind to leave you.

    I’m curious about something. If you love your wife, why did you mistreat, tease, ignore and otherwise disregard her and only change your actions once she did something drastic? To me, those aren’t the actions of someone who loves their spouse.

    I’m glad your marriage is better. I do hope that your wife is truly happy since she is the one that for so long gave you “support” that wasn’t returned.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Sandy–the only thing I can really say is that I didn’t realize that all those things I was doing were having such an effect on her. In my mind they were all little things, but in her mind they were huge problems. We both needed to make improvements in the marriage. Marital problems are rarely one sided and this is my side of the marital problems. We are now three years removed from that time and we’re happier than we ever have been. Thanks for commenting.

  22. Nathan says:

    Cody, you’re blog hit the nail on the head regarding my own marriage of eleven years. I showed it to my wife and she can’t believe how similar our marriage is. We are currently holding on by a thread right now and going to counseling.

    As for the comment by Sandy- you must be very lonely to try and dissect someone so much. It’s way more prevalent than you think. Try living 50years ago when you had no say. Keep your negative views to yourself.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Nathan–I’ve been pretty surprised by the number of people with marriage problems that were almost identical to my own. Good luck with counseling. I’m here to tell you that it can get better. It has been nearly three years since my wife decided to leave me, and we are now happier than we ever have been.

  23. Emuladores says:

    buenas acabo de enterarme de tu website y la verdad es que me parece genial no sabia de mas personas interesadas en estos temas, aqui tienes un nuevo lector que seguira visitandote abitualmente.

  24. Ger says:

    very inspiring, everyone deserves a second chance. complementing my wife is the thing i don’t do.thanks to this blog..wish you a happy married life.

  25. Jeff says:

    Kudos to you Cody for sharing something so personal. If it helps just *one* husband out there smarten up and see what he has before he loses it, your post was totally worth it. Thanks for sharing.

  26. jamaica says:

    thanks for inspiring
    me… how can I read the blog of casey?

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