Death can separate couples, but that’s not the only reason two people who were once madly in love will go their separate ways.
Statistics suggest that about 83% of women will likely experience separation or divorce in their marriages within the first five years.
Luckily, it is not all gloom and doom and contempt, as recent data shows that divorce rates in the United States decreased to about 45% in 2021.
Here’s my point.
While many marriages fail, there is still a good percentage of homes that flourish despite the numerous challenges in the institution of the married couple.
But why do marriages fail? Why is something that started beautifully with two souls intertwining come to an abrupt and, most time, painful end?
Perhaps a better question is: how can you make your marriage last?
In this article, I will share some of the major reasons why marriages succeed or fail. I will also give you some pointers on how you can make your marriage and long term relationship blossom “until death do you part.”
10 Reasons Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
1. Unhappy Sex Life
One of the biggest culprits for failed marriages is reduced sexual activity between a married couple, particularly if it is caused by negativity.
Unfortunately, sex is something that a lot of people talk about only in hushed tones.
Many married couples find it difficult to be completely honest about this three-letter word, even though it is a vital part of married life.
Couples who have an exclusive sexual relationship have higher satisfaction in their union and will experience more happiness. But if one partner experiences frequent rejections when they make sexual advances, it is no surprise if they become frustrated.
Your sexual life is bound to be unhappy and unhealthy if you and your spouse can’t truly express your sexual preferences and desires. Your marriage will also start to fall apart if both of you can’t strike a balance in terms of sex frequency.
That’s not to say there’s a specific number of times couples should have sex in a week or month. Like everything else in life, libido ebbs and flows.
However, if both of you are truly happy, it is easy to have a healthy and happy sex life.
2. Lack of Communication
Communication is vital in any relationship, and marriage is not an exception. A lack of communication among couples can easily lead to misunderstanding and mistrust, and ultimately – divorce.
There is no such thing as keeping your feelings to yourself in marriage, at least not in a healthy union and successful marriage.
If something isn’t quite right in your relationship, the last thing you want to do is keep quiet about it. The longer you keep your feelings to yourself, the wider the communication gap. Also, a deep void will be created if one partner is not comfortable discussing their sexual, emotional, or other intimate needs.
Chances are, this void will likely be filled elsewhere if something is not done to improve communication at home.
It is crucial to adopt the right approach and attitude when having an honest discussion with your partner to make your marriage succeed. This is especially the case if you are broaching a subject that you or your spouse considers sensitive.
3. Lack of Understanding
Understanding is among the most ignored reasons why marriages succeed or fail. I completely agree that love between couples is great and very important, but love won’t last without understanding.
Think of it this way.
Most couples love each other deeply before agreeing to walk down the aisle and exchange vows.
Unfortunately, that spark of love will start to diminish if the couples don’t fully understand their feelings.
Misunderstanding often leads to criticism, and no one likes to be judged or criticized because it hurts. Without understanding, couples are left to endure one hurtful feeling after the other. It won’t be too long before one person makes a thoughtless remark and the other reacts harshly, escalating the issue.
Of course, it may not be possible to completely avoid misunderstandings in marriages. But marriages can be blissful and happy when both parties learn how to first understand themselves and then put in the effort to genuinely understand each other.
Good friends can help build your marriage relationship with quality pieces of advice and helpful tips.
Unfortunately, not all your close personal friends or those of your spouse are helpful. Poor-quality friends can actually be toxic to your marriage, especially when they get between you and your spouse.
Keep in mind that some of your friends won’t transition into friends of your new family, so watch out for signs of trouble and avoid poor-quality friends.
Want to learn more about the signs of toxic friends that can destroy your marriage? I invite you to read this article.
5. Financial Problems
Another common reason marriages succeed or fail is the couples’ approach to financial problems.
However, money issues on their own don’t necessarily create cracks in marriages. Instead, a lack of open communication about financial difficulties can make the entire situation worse.
Whether married or single, most people have financial problems involving spending, debts, and bills, among others. However, the strain that these problems put on the marriage will depend a lot on how couples deal with the issues.
Couples in successful marriages can have money issues from time to time. But they are forthcoming about it, even if it means being more vulnerable.
Putting up a “strong” appearance is great, but vulnerability takes a lot of bravery. The real strong men and women understand this, and that’s why they don’t hide their weaknesses (including financial difficulties) from their spouses.
6. Time Problems
A married couple should spend plenty of time – quality time – together.
Here’s the thing, though.
Many people allow other schedules to get in the way and steal away the quality time they should be spending with their spouses.
The reason for this is simple: work schedules are not usually compatible with the things you’ll love to do at home. But if you don’t find a way to strike a balance between work and home, one will suffer for the other.
For couples, time spent away from each other is as important as time spent together for their marriage to last for a lifetime.
However, marriages can experience a lot of stress if couples spend more time apart than they spend together.
Finding this balance is one of the secrets to keeping love alive in your marriage.
7. Too Much Focus on the Kids
Children are a blessing to the family, and it is important to create enough time to teach them empowering life skills.
However, excessive focus on kids can start to take a toll on the marriage.
Usually, the first few months or years of marriage feel magical for many newlyweds. Nothing says bliss than spending quality time with the love of your life. You can go places at a moment’s notice without worrying about anyone back home.
But all of this can change in an instant when kids come into the picture.
Gradually, it will become increasingly difficult to have some peace and quiet, go for outings, or spend quality time together as before.
If nothing is done to improve the situation, children will take precedence, and the marriage becomes secondary.
With time, cracks can start to develop in the marriage due to frustration, leading to a failed union.
But should you wait until your kids grow up and go off to college before taking care of your most cherished connection?
While ignoring other life commitments in favor of your marriage is not practical, it is also important not to put your primary relationship on the backburner indefinitely.
Make an effort to keep the fire burning in your marriage. Having date night almost every week or planning a romantic getaway can be great for your marriage if you can pull it off.
Maintaining love and passion can be challenging with kids in the picture. But children are a blessing and shouldn’t be the excuse for ignoring your primary relationship.
Tips for a Happy Marriage
There is no one-size-fits-all formula on how every marriage should be. We are all unique individuals, and our relationships do not have the same set of conditions.
That said, successful marriages tend to have certain characteristics.
Having a happy marriage that lasts for a lifetime is possible, but it takes some effort, as I’ve outlined below.
Be Willing to Compromise
There are no two ways about it; compromise is necessary for a successful marriage. Compromise or a lack of it is one of the reasons why marriages succeed or fail.
Frequent arguing, disagreements, and fights can lead to a resentful marriage.
But don’t take this the wrong way. Compromising doesn’t mean you and your spouse must share the same view about everything.
On the contrary, it means you have different views about certain things or don’t agree at all on some things, but you are both willing to share your thoughts, perspectives, and opinions and then reach a middle ground.
This is not a one-time thing, though.
Couples who enjoy their union are more than willing to compromise on an ongoing basis.
Work On Challenging Situations Together
Challenging situations don’t only test the individual; they can put a lot of strain on your marriage. The key to overcoming trials as a couple and ensure a good long term relationship is to work together, regardless of how each person defines the situation.
Working together can help you and your spouse solve your marriage problems, whether it is trust issues or financial difficulties, health challenges, or some form of misfortune.
The quickest way for couples to go their separate ways is to consider themselves incompatible. This type of thinking makes it difficult to work as a team and overcome challenges and conflict together.
Be committed to your union and marriage style and understand that whatever situation presents in your marriage is meant to be tackled by both of you – husband and wife. Finding solutions to problems is more important in marriage than thinking your partner is somehow at fault.
Focus on the Positive
You are not perfect – no one is, not even your spouse. Everyone is a work in progress, regardless of obvious flaws.
Understanding this, it becomes easier to focus on the positive aspects of your spouse and marriage instead of dwelling on all the wrong things in your union.
Fault-finding is easy; anyone can do it.
But focusing on the positives and specific actions takes deliberate effort.
Here’s the deal: whatever you continuously feed your mind is what you will eventually believe, regardless of what’s true or not. If you allow your mind to constantly dwell on your spouse’s mistakes, imperfections, and broken promises, it won’t be too long before everything they do appears negative to you.
Make concerted efforts to change your thinking, and you’ll soon lose sight of your partner’s flaws.
However, this doesn’t mean you should put up with negative behaviors. Instead, your positive focus allows you to adopt the right approach when communicating with your spouse in words or action.
This can influence positive changes in your spouse instead of arguments, fights, and defensiveness that may happen if you use the wrong approach during conflict.
And this ties in nicely with the next tip.
Be Open to Communication
Misunderstandings and frequent fights don’t stand a chance in a relationship where the couples communicate freely.
Communication is not just talking; it also means listening to the other person to make a marriage work.
You and your spouse must learn to talk with and listen to each other. To make this more effective, you both must make an effort to understand each other’s perspective, which means setting aside your differences, even if it is temporary.
Hopefully, the tips in this article have given you a few solid pointers to help make your marriage work.
Even the most hopeless marriage can be salvaged if the couples are willing and committed to making an effort.
It all starts with understanding why marriages succeed or fail and figuring out what aspects of the union need to be improved.