Why marriages fail is a question that has been asked for centuries? If you hold a gun to my head and ask me what marriage is, the first answer out of my mouth will be a lifetime of blissful and frustrating moments between two people.
Some people have happy marriages while some cannot stand each other. This is especially after a divorce! Life has its fair share of ups and downs and just like life, marriage is not for quitters. Some define marriage as tough but for two people willing to stay together, they can make the impossible possible.
Today, growing old together as a couple has become such an unachievable goal. The divorce rate is higher and here per day. So, why do marriages fail? Here are the 50 reasons why marriages fail in the first year.
Marriages Fail: Lack of Understanding
Understanding is an important factor in marriage. Lack of it can result in a rocky and messy marriage. Many marriages struggle because couples do not understand one another. This, in turn, breeds lack of trust, emotional pain, verbal and physical fights, and unhappiness. In his book, “To Understand Each Other “, Paul Tournier reminds couples that understanding each other helps in creating a healthy marriage.
Marriages Fail: Unrealistic Expectations
People often enter the marriage with expectations. They may have originated from their role models or talking with friends, but wherever their source, if you do not communicate your expectations to your partner, they will be unfulfilled. Well, what follows is not rocket science, disappointment ensues and it may eventually lead to a failed marriage.
Marriages Fail: Secrecy And Lies
Anytime that secrets and lies find their way into your marriage, it is bound to eventually fail! Why? You might ask, and the answer is because marriage offers 3 major elements: security, love, and trust. Therefore, if one or both of you break the third element, trust, the dynamic of your marriage automatically changes. Bader Ph.D., Ellyn and Peter T. Pearson Ph.D. stress the importance of being truthful in their book “Tell Me No Lies“.
Marriages Fail: Forgiveness
Unwillingness to forgive your partner can build up resentment and eventually a broken marriage. The Bible commands us in Colossians 3:13 to “…forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Marriages Fail: Feeling Unsatisfied
Each one of us has needs, you are normal to have needs! Needs vary with each person and they come in different forms; they can be physical or emotional needs. If you can learn to give your partner his needs, they would feel that they matter to you.
When the needs of your partner are not met, they feel may disconnect to you and may seek satisfaction outside of your marriage. Read: “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage” by Willard F. Jr. Harley and learn the needs of your partner.
Marriages Fail: Unconcerning Partners
You should understand that infidelity does not happen overnight. Married couples easily drift apart. If you do not make your marriage a priority, it will become gray and boring, giving your partner a chance to slip away, often to a person who understands their needs.
Marriages Fail: Selfishness In the Marriage
Human beings are selfish beings. In fact, Jesus knew that we would want to put ourselves first always and commanded us in Mathew 22: 37-39, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I have witnessed married couples insist on the ‘it is either my way or no way’ and trust me the ending is not pretty.
Someone once told me that you constantly give something up in marriage, and when you feel that you have given all you have, you give some more. I’m inclined to agree, marriage is a constant compromise.
Marriages Fail: Changing after Marriage
Married couples always complain that their partners have changed since they got married. If you feel that your partner has changed since you got married, you need to ask yourself several questions. Is it that you did not know your partner well before you two got married?
Has your attitude towards them changed triggering a change in him/her? If you have kids, have both or one of you transferred their love and attention towards the kids, creating a disconnection between you?
Marriages Fail: Holding back
If you have old wounds from previous emotional heartaches, your partner may sometimes trigger those wounds. You need to talk to them about your wounds and figure out a way to solve your problems instead of hitting the road.
Marriages Fail: Attitude
Wrong perspective! Attitude is everything in marriage. Has anyone been kind enough to tell you about the law of attraction? The universe gives you exactly what you ask for it! First, adopt a positive attitude towards your marriage and everything else will fall into its rightful place. Right the wrongs and read “As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last” by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Marriages Fail: Thinking You can do better
Did you know that the divorce rate for second-time marriages is very high? This is so is because, after a divorce, people assume that they will not make the same mistakes they made in their first marriage.
However, let me stop you right there, people bring the baggage of their previous marriage to the second marriage and they do not have the patience to tolerate the faults of their new partners. Therefore, this mentality is wrong and has been condemned in Malachi 2:15-16, “…do not break faith with the wife of your Youth. I hate divorce…”
Marriages Fail: Loss of Individuality
Spending a lot of time together as a couple can destroy the person you are outside the marriage. Giving up your individual interests could do your marriage more harm than good. You might not realize that you are compromising your own happiness for that of your spouse until it is too late.
Marriages Fail: Lack Of Communication
Raise your hand if you judge actions of your partner based on your own perception of marriage…I can bet your hand is up! There is a pun that women came from Venus and men from Mars? You can guess where I’ going with this…Simply put, men and women are different.
However, most married couples do not approve of their partner if they behave in a different way. Gary Chapman in his book “Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage” talks more about communication in marriage.
Marriages Fail: Alienation
Feeling left out by your partner can cause problems in your marriage. Learn to do everything as a team, come to a consensus and create a unanimity kind of attitude in your marriage. It is at this point that I introduce compromise as an important asset in marriage. Do not force your choices to your partner else you want to create resentment and eventually marriage failure.
Marriages Fail: Online Dating
There are numerous ways that you can cheat or lie to your partner on the internet. Ever wondered yourself why online dating is a thriving? This is because the internet gives us a whole new boldness than who we are in person.
The internet brings strangers closer together and it also rekindles old love flames. Avoid the temptation to use social media networks for dating or it will silently eat into your marriage.
Marriages Fail: Forgetting Your Manners
Always be polite and chivalrous to your partner. Make these words “Please”, “Thank you” and “Sorry” your friend and you have created a roadmap to a happy marriage.
Marriages Fail: Financial Problems
If left unaddressed, financial issues in the marriage can be a major hitch and can lead to a break-up. Undisclosed debts and excessive spending are some of the deal-breakers for most married couples.
Materialism and incompatible money values are some other demons that can creep into your marriage and cause conflict. Learn to stop money from breaking your marriage in the book by Tina Tessina “Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage.”
Marriages Fail: Venting To Friends/Family Instead Of A Therapist
I’m going to let you in on a secret. If you vent your marital issues to your friends or family, what you will have at the end is successfully painting a negative picture of your partner in their minds. We get it, he/she is not a saint and so is you!
However, how many of us will agree to wrongdoing on our part while we are at it? And remember, your friends and family might still hold a grudge on your partner even after you resolve the issue as a couple. Furthermore, you cannot convict a person who is not present to defend their case, see a therapist instead.
Marriages Fail: Lack of Self-Knowledge
You may find that you got married to a person because others thought you were good together. You were not brave enough to identify and go after what you knew was good for you. In such a scenario, get to know and appreciate yourself. Identify the things you like and those you don’t. Talk your emotional state out with your partner so you don’t suppress emotions.
Marriages Fail: Differing Love Languages
We have different love languages. Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” outlines them as “spending quality time, deeds of service, saying affirming words, physical touching, or giving gifts.” Until your partner talks your love language you will feel inadequate in the marriage.
Marriages Fail: Loss Of Attraction
It is through your most difficult moments that your character is shaped. It is not uncommon for couples to lose attraction for each other. One day you might wake up and realize that you are no longer attracted to your partner.
What do you do, will you pack and leave? No, remember you married this person because you loved them. The secret is going down the memory lane and doing the things that attracted you together when you were in courtship all over again.
Marriages Fail: Indifference
Holdings feelings of bitterness against your partner in marriage is very toxic! It does not only result in resentment of your partner but it can also affect your physical health. Ignoring issues does not make them magically disappear.
While you may want to avoid short-term conflict, you are doing the marriage a long-term disservice. Paula Hall in his book “Improving Your Relationship for Dummies,” teaches how to avoid resenting your partner.
Marriages Fail: Lack of Intimacy
Learn to be honest with your partner and take responsibility for your part in the dispute. Make it your life’s mission to make him/her feel happy; if you can nail this, everything else will be easy.
Marriages Fail: Unsolved childhood issues
When you bring baggage into your marriage, it highly contributes to conflict within the marriage. This baggage more often than not can make you feel vulnerable and you may end up projecting your feelings to your partner.
Consequently, this can keep you from creating a marriage with harmony and understanding your partner. “Breaking Free: How Chains From Childhood Keep Us from What We Want” by Sheldon H. Kardener and Monika Olofsson Kardener gives a deeper insight.
Marriages Fail: Misinformed Culture Of Instant Fulfilment
Our contemporary culture teaches us that we should put our needs before those of others. When your demands are not met, you want out at the first chance you get. I’m here to tell you otherwise, by putting the needs of your partner before your own, you stand a better chance of having yours met in the process.
Marriages Fail: Social Pressure
Going generations back, most times our families have influenced our opinions on who to marry. What’s more, women are given more pressure to get married before “time catches up with them.” Such influences lead to rushed choices and eventually pressure in the marriage. Take your time choosing your partner and choose wisely!
Marriages Fail: An Obligation And A Covenant Are Two Different Things
Viewing marriage as a contract you signed up for rather than as a commitment to make your partner happy negatively affects the marriage. If you keep such a perception, you will bail too early.
The importance here is to perceive marriage as a lifetime covenant between you and your partner. I would recommend you to borrow some knowledge on this matter from Glover Shipp book “Marriage is a Covenant, Not a Contract.”
Marriages Fail: Inflexibility
While you and your partner may have already set the ground rules for your marriage. As a couple, you must be willing to make adjustments as time progresses. Managing changes to accommodate unexpected issues should be a precedence in your marriage.
Marriages Fail: Blame Game
When it comes down to who will take the blame when something goes wrong, no one wants to take one for the team! Avoid saying mean things to your partner as you blame each other. Instead, learn how to address the issues that have arisen and communicate in a mature manner if you want to maintain a healthy marriage.
Marriages Fail: Poor Conflict Resolving Techniques
Conflict resolution can either make or break your marriage. People have different ways of resolving conflicts, some shout at their partner, others simply ignore the matter, while some others prefer a calm conversation. It is vital to have compatible conflict resolution techniques with your partner else there will be a communication breakdown.
Marriages Fail: Focusing on the Wedding Instead of the Marriage
Have you met couples who use so much time and energy planning their wedding and not a minute after it happens? I call this disaster in the making. If you do not take the time to address issues such as children, boundaries, and priorities, and instead focus on the wedding nitty-gritty, I can sense trouble a mile away.
Marriages Fail: Similarity between Couples
While this may sound like a positive thing, it can also cause marriage failure. If you have similar ways of coping with challenging feelings and thoughts, then none of you is present to challenge the other to resolve your conflicts differently. This is a much bigger problem if you both prefer silent treatment as a conflict resolution.
Marriages Fail: Getting Married For The Wrong Reason
If you are one of those couples that jumped into marriage for all the wrong reasons, then your marriage is doomed to fail! Reasons such as financial stability, settling because you are lonely and age catching up are not a strong basis for a marriage. Eventually, the couples start to feel discontent and unfulfilled because they are incompatible. Christine Arylo in her book “Choosing Me before We” offers guidelines to couples wanting to get into marriage.
Marriages Fail: Chemistry Vs. Compatibility
Compatibility refers to sharing core beliefs, values and priorities. Chemistry will bring you together but compatibility will keep you together.
Marriages Fail: Going Through A Big Life Change
Emotionally traumatic situations, if not handled carefully can lead to a broken marriage. I’m talking about a loss of a job, a death of someone close to you, illness etc. Do everything humanly possible to avoid growing apart in grief.
Marriages Fail: The Sex Is Bad
If you have you been wondering if I was to bring up the sex topic, here goes…In a new marriage, the sex is nothing short of great, usually; but as the marriage progresses, other issues overtake sex. Sexual difficulties are brought about by resentment, dreading pregnancy, and poor communication. One wrong word and the excitement dies a natural death.
Marriages Fail: Dropping Date Night
When life becomes full of activities; the kids come, your careers demand more time from you, and you might be tempted to drop the date night. However, marriage needs constant refueling through regular reconnection that date nights offer.
Marriages Fail: Only One Of You Is Growing
If one person in on a new journey to wholeness and the other is not on board, eventually, couples do not see things from the same perspective. The person with on this new journey might call it quits and want out of the marriage. You can avoid walking down this road by joining your partner in their new quest.
Marriages Fail: Your Careers Come First
Just do a quick personal inspection of whether you are neglecting your partner for your career. If you are, this will quickly nurture resentment in your partner, breed disconnection and steer to a failed marriage.
Marriages Fail: One of You Has Adult ADHD
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is more often than not misinterpreted. It can lead to extreme cases of misunderstandings, irritation, and fury. Learn how to correctly interpret your partner’s actions in “The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov.
Marriages Fail: You No Longer Like Each Other
Do not in a million years forget what attracted you to your partner. Never be too predisposed to finding fault in your partner’s actions that you forget they have positive virtues too.
Marriages Fail: All-Consuming Hobby
If you have a hobby that does not include your partner but tends to take up most of your time, it is time to re-evaluate. Your partner might feel lonely and perceive you as annoying, idle or unattractive.
Marriages Fail: Prioritizing Your Kids
Never ever forget that your spouse should come first. When kids come, they demand all the attention and usually, couples put them before their relationship. Failure to give your partner attention can break the marriage. Remember that after the kids grow up and leave your home, you will be left with one another. Therefore keep the flames burning.
Marriages Fail: No Gratitude
Lack of minimal appreciation of your partner’s efforts, strengths and talents can lead your partner feeling undervalued. Keep in mind that the more they feel appreciated, the more they will want to stay.
Marriages Fail: You Got Married At a Young Age
Marriages between young couples mostly do not stand the test of time. This is because they are likely to be immature and they drastically change as they advance in age. Get tips on how to stay married from Ted Cunningham in his book “Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage.”
Marriages Fail: The Internet
If you are a social media addict, you could be killing the spark to your marriage. Log out and give your partner some attention. Constantly talking to your friends online while you are spending time with your partner could make them feel neglected. Another downside of social media is the perfect lifestyles that are posted. You might end up setting impractical expectations for your marriage.
Marriages Fail: Not Supporting Your Spouse
Sometimes you need to get off the “fix-it” gloves and be a support for your partner. He/she may have lost a close person or is undergoing a stressful time in the workplace etc. In such times, forget to fix things in your marriage and just focus on giving your partner a shoulder to lean on. Read “L. O. V. E.: Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You” by Les Parrott and Leslie Parrott.
48. Marriages Fail: Forgetting the Friendship
I cannot stress enough the importance of friendship in marriage. In the midst of the stomp, stop and look at your spouse as your friend and I guarantee you the judgment you are feeling will fade away. We expect so much from our partners because we feel entitled to their love and unwavering support that we forget to be their friends.
49. Marriages Fail: Lack of Investment
Give me your attention, I’m not talking financial investment here. Invest time in your spouse, buy them gifts, take them out to dinner, it is the small things that count! Invest in couples’ books that will offer deeper insight into marriage and ways to tackle marital issues.
The problem is not unique to you, someone else was going through it and succeeded. Learn from the expert Patrick Jennings in his book “ The 5 Minute Marriage: Maximizing Your Everyday Moments.”
Marriages Fail: Secret Sins
Secret fantasies have a way of catching up with you. The more you hide a sinful habit from your spouse, the more it grows stronger. Assuming an issue only gives it more power over your life. Whatever the habit: gambling, masturbation, lust, pornography, health issues etc. come clean to your partner as Dr. Fred Hether in his book “A Better Life” proposes.
Good luck and remember the world can use one less divorce!