The divorce rate in the United State is at about 50%, meaning that there should be a lot of people wondering why marriages fail. In case you may be wondering NO I am not married, but I am a National Certified Counselor, have a degree in marriage and family therapy, and have counseled many married couples. So I think it makes me pretty qualified to talk about the common reasons why marriages fail.
A common misconception of couples that I saw include them thinking that dating is like marriage (which it isn’t) or that once they get married the issues that are apparent in dating will no longer be there, and that marriage will FIX an already bad relationship. Which is furthest from the truth.
Because when you get married, being and staying married is very hard. Once the wedding and honeymoon is over you are stuck with this person. Ideally no one gets married and wants a divorce. When you are married you cannot just up and leave. Well you can, but it is a lot harder. Leaving that person means a divorce, spitting assets, coming up with a custody agreement, child support, or alimony. Lawyers are involved and the process can drag out for a long time, years even. And who wants that.
So let’s get into shall we.
4 Reasons Why Marriages Fail and What You Can Do About It
Not realizing who you are marrying
If you want to give your marriage the best chance of survival it is important to discuss the important things in a relationship AND it is important to pay attention to the person as it. A ring on someone’s finger is not going to fix someone if they have a major character flaw.
For example, if the wife has an excessive spending habit that always keeps the bank account in the negative; that will continue in marriage. If the husband has an addiction to porn and chooses to watch it all day; that will come out and continue in marriage. If the husband does not have a job and does not want to get a job, he is not all of a sudden going to become a provider of the family just because you are married. AND if one person wants to have kids and the other does not; that is a BIG deal and will be a big deal once you are married.
To remedy this issue you must pay attention in the dating or the engagement phase (see my blog here on questions you should be asking while engaged). So that you do not hitch yourself to someone that has a lot of issues that is going to cause you problems in your marriage, leading to a divorce.
Behaving Like You’re Still Single
As a single person you can stay out all night, go on a trip, do what you want, and go where you want without having to ask permission for anyone. As a married person it is not like that. You spouse is an extension of you and so you must treat them as an extension of you, and this is where most people have a problem. You are not single and you have joined yourself with another person. You can no longer do what you want when you want, and if that is what you wanted then you should have stayed single. Most people have a problem with this because they do not want to loose their individuality. But that is what happens when you get married, you have to learn to compromise and function as a couple not an individual.
I have seen one person save up a lot of money and unwilling to spend their savings even if it is needed for the marriage. I have seen someone spend all the money without consulting their spouse. In a marriage many people will still have the tendency to say “This is MY money, I earned it.” When in reality, it is the household’s money. It does not matter who earned it, both people need to make the proper decision regarding money and this needs to be an open and honest conversation about how the money should be spent and saved as a couple. If there are separate accounts, then an honest conversation needs to be had about it. There should be no hiding money from one party nor should there be any spending of money or mismanagement of money. Money should be a joint decision, you should talk about how to spend it, what to spend it on, and how to save it.
Some married couples do not get the “whole joining together” part. They want everything to be about what they want, what they don’t have, and what they want to do. And if you do not want to do what they want to do or feel how they feel then they get mad. If each person in the marriage is always thinking about themselves then that means they are not thinking about the other person and that is a recipe of disaster. When you are married you have to come to terms with the fact that you are not the most important person in your life anymore. You spouse is and when you have kids, your kids will be as well. You must shift your mindset away from the “me” mentality and do things that are in the best interest of “us.”
I will never forget that as I was counseling a married couple they were both really unhappy with one another. Both of them stated that the person they married was not who they thought they were marrying. Both admitted to pretending to be what they thought their partner wanted because they each wanted to get married. I cannot emphasize this enough. Be yourself! You want to marry someone who likes you for you not a person that you pretended to be. That person is not real. So unless you want to pretend to be that person for the rest of your marriage (which is not going to happen) you will be unhappy.
And even if you follow all of the above advice, your marriage will still be hard. If you are in a hard marriage, I recommend you reflect on what you can do to change yourself. At the end of the day the only person that you can control is yourself, you cannot make the other person change. You can only work on yourself and do your part to make sure the marriage runs smoothly. For those who are single and who want to be married. Do not be in a rush to get married. Because this will lead to you just marrying anyone. And I have seen the effects of people just getting together because they are lonely. Marriage is not the cure to your loneliness, depression, anxiety, or the fact that you just do not want to be single anymore. Marrying the wrong person will only intensify these shortcomings.