Five Reasons Why Marriages Fail

Five Reasons Why Marriages Fail

When a marriage fails, it can leave you wondering what happened. Oftentimes, resentment and hurt feelings cause both spouses to blame the other for the end of the marriage. While there are times when a failed marriage can be the fault of just one party, this is generally not the case. This blog explores 5 reasons why marriages fail and how you can be proactive if you believe that your marriage may be coming to an end.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), 45% of all U.S. marriages ended in divorce in 2020.1 The question now is why? There are obviously cases where one spouse can be blamed for the failure of a marriage, such as infidelity, conviction of a crime, addiction, or domestic violence. However, if you are reading this article, these likely do not apply in your situation. The top five reasons why marriages fail when blame cannot be clearly attributed to one spouse include:

1. You never should have gotten married in the first place. The truth is some couples simply should have never gotten married. Things usually end the way they began. If your relationship was tumultuous to start with, it is likely that the marriage end in the same way, and there is not really anything you can do about it.

2. Undiagnosed mental illness. Untreated mental illnesses can affect a person’s perception of reality, cause poor impulse control, and lead to controlling behavior.2 This can cause a marriage to go downhill rather quickly.

Potential mental illness can be difficult to recognize in a spouse when work, household chores, and raising children consume most of your life. However, if you do notice any strange or major changes in your spouse’s personality or behavior, you should consult with a medical professional right away. An experienced physician, therapist, or psychiatrist can advise you about what to do to get your spouse to seek the proper treatment.

3. Death of a child. The death of a child is probably the most traumatic thing a parent can experience, and many couple’s marriages do not survive the trauma. This is generally due to one or both of the following:

a. The child died while under the care of one parent. The spouse who was supervising the child when the death occurred will almost certainly blame themselves for the death.3 When this happens, there are two dynamics that can cause a vast degree of resentment, leading to the marriage’s failure:

i. The supervising spouse interprets the other spouse’s behavior or innocent words to be accusations of responsibility.

ii. The supervising spouse falls into a deep depression due to the inability to forgive or stop blaming themselves.

b. The parties grieve the child’s death very differently. Everyone grieves a loss in their own way. A couple grieving the loss of their child in different ways, can lead to misunderstandings, anxiety, increased depression, resentment, and ultimately the end of the marriage.

If you have a lost a child, both you and your spouse should begin seeing a grief counselor or therapist right away.

4. Different goals and expectations. Whether you failed to discuss certain goals and expectations before marriage, or goals and expectations have changed over time, disagreements about child rearing, life goals, money, and sex can cause misunderstandings, frustration, and resentment in a marriage.

Communication is the key here. Talk to one another about what you need, want, and expect and do it regularly. When a disagreement arises, the important thing is to treat it as a chance to learn about one another and reach a compromise, not to “win” an argument.

5. One or both spouses stopped working at the marriage. You work to get a date, you work to become a couple, you work to get engaged, and then you get married and stop working. Married couples oftentimes treat strangers better than they treat each other.

This may be the most common reason why marriages fail. Married couples simply get too comfortable with one another and too engrossed in the tasks of daily living to remember, not only how they treated each other in the beginning of the relationship, but also how to be polite.

If you believe your marriage has come to an end, the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help.

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. It is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.

  1. National Center for Health Statistics
  2. Christine Hammond, M. S
  3. Gadoua, S. P., L.C.S.W
  4. Campbell, K., Ph. D

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