Why do relationships and marriages fail? It amazes me how a couple that can’t take their eyes off each other, will suddenly now can’t stand each other. While there are many different reasons as to why most relationships and marriages end, here are 11 “Marriage killers” shared by D. James Dobson, Relationship expert and Author of many books including, “Love for a lifetime”:
1. Over commitment and physical exhaustion. Beware of this danger. It is especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a profession or in school. Do not try to go to college, work full-time, have a baby, manage a toddler, fix up a house and start a business at the same time. It sounds ridiculous, but many young couples do just that and are surprised when their marriage falls apart. Why wouldn’t it? The only time they see each other is when they are worn out! It is especially dangerous to have the husband vastly overcommitted and the wife staying home with a preschooler. Her profound loneliness builds discontent and depression, and we all know where that leads. You must reserve time for one another if you want to keep your love alive.
2. Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent. We’ve said it before: Pay cash for consumable items or don’t buy. Don’t spend more for a house or car than you can afford, leaving too few resources for dating, short trips, baby sitters and so on. Allocate your funds with the wisdom of Solomon.
3. Selfishness. There are two kinds of people in the world, the givers and the takers. A marriage between two givers can be a beautiful thing. Friction is the order of the day, however, for a giver and a taker. But two takers can claw each other to pieces within a period of six weeks. In short, selfishness will devastate a marriage every time.
4. Interference from in-laws. If husbands or wives have not been full emancipated from their parents, it is best not to live near them. Autonomy is difficult for some mothers (and fathers) to grant, and close proximity is built for trouble.
5. Unrealistic expectations. Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks down primrose lanes, and uninterrupted joy. Counsellor Jean Lush believed, and I agree, that this romantic illusion is particularly characteristic of American women who expect more from their husbands than they are capable of delivering. The consequent disappointment is an emotional trap. Bring your expectations in line with reality.
6. Space invaders. This killer will be difficult to describe or understand in such a brief context, but I’ll try. By space invaders, I am not referring to aliens from Mars. Rather, my concern is for those who violate the breathing room needed by their partners, quickly suffocating them and destroying the attraction between them. Jealousy is one way this phenomenon manifests itself. Another is low self-esteem which leads the insecure spouse to trample the territory of the other. Love must be free and it must be confident.
7. Alcohol or substance abuse. These are killers, not only of marriages but of people. Avoid them like the plague.
8. Pornography, gambling and other addictions. It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. It has a tendency to get hooked on destructive behaviours, especially early in life. During an introductory stage, people think they can play with enticements such as pornography or gambling and not get hurt. In actuality few walk away unaffected. For some, there is a weakness and vulnerability that is not known until too late. Then they become addicted to something that tears at the fabric of the family.
9. Sexual frustration, loneliness, low self-esteem and the greener grass of infidelity. A deadly combination!
10. Business failure or Job loss. It does bad things, to men especially. Their agitation over financial reverses sometimes sublimates to anger within the family. Business success. It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business. The writer of the Proverbs said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (30:8). Edward Fitzgerald said it another way: “One of the saddest pages kept by the recording angel is the record of souls that have been damned by success.” It’s true. Those who profit handsomely sometimes become drunk with power and the lust for more! Wives and children are forgotten in this process.
11. Business success. It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business. The writer of the Proverbs said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (30:8). Edward Fitzgerald said it another way: “One of the saddest pages kept by the recording angel is the record of souls that have been damned by success.” It’s true. Those who profit handsomely sometimes become drunk with power and the lust for more! Wives and children are forgotten in this process.