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Articles

Why Marriages Fail

  • Why Marriages Fail

    Why do marriages fail? Pundits offer a number of reasons, but these explanations don’t tell the whole

    story.

    For example, marriages do not fail due to incompatibility. Every marriage is comprised of two people

    who are incompatible in some respects. In successful marriages, partners learn how to adapt to each other’s

    interests. Their differences become a source of strength, rather than a source of conflict.

    Marriages do not fail because of money. Our grandparents were far poorer than we are, yet there were

    far fewer divorces in their day. Somehow they figured out that money - or the lack thereof - was simply

    something a couple dealt with. When they said, “for richer or for poorer,” they meant it. Poverty was a

    shared experience that brought them closer together, rather than driving them apart.

    Marriages do not fail because of in-laws. God decreed that a man should “leave his father and mother

    and be joined to his wife” (Gen. 2:24). A failure to cut the apron strings when entering a new relationship

    with a spouse can generate a lot of problems. But the in-laws generally can’t be blamed for the problems.

    They can’t intrude into the marriage unless the couple allows them to do so.

    Marriages do not fail because of sex. Of all the incompatibilities that a couple has to struggle with, this

    is probably the biggest. Men and women have completely different libidos, and it takes some couples a

    long time to understand each other’s needs in this area. Some couples never do reach that understanding.

    But that doesn’t mean a marriage is doomed. Successful marriages have this problem, too. They just learn

    to adapt.

    Marriages do not fail because of kids. Of all the reasons offered for a failed marriage, this is the most

    inexcusable. Raising children to be happy, well-adjusted, productive citizens is a primary reason for

    marriage in the first place. This job can be exhausting, exasperating, and expensive. But if a couple remains

    patient and committed, it will be the most rewarding achievement of their life. If children become the

    source of marital discord, there’s something else going on behind the curtains.

    All of these issues may contribute to a failed marriage, but they are not the underlying cause. The main

    reason that marriages fail is simply selfishness. One or both parties in the relationship consider “self” to be

    more important than “spouse.” Armed with that attitude, every difference, however trivial, becomes a

    potential battleground that can destroy the marriage.

    Self-help books on sex, children, money, etc., can be good resources for helping a young couple cope

    with marriage. But the best resource is a thorough indoctrination in the Biblical meaning of “love” -

    treating others as more important than self. - David King