Why Marriages Fail

Whenever something politically happens like Amendment 1 in North Carolina, I hear arguments that if same-sex couples were allowed to legally marry or partake in a civil union heterosexual marriages would fail.

Ironically, when I’ve met with couples whose marriages are falling apart, not one person has ever said to me it’s because of a gay or lesbian couple.  So I think it’s safe to say that this is just an out for people so as not to face a more difficult political conversation.

I can tell you that when I meet with folks these are the issues that come up:

  • infidelity
  • lack of communication
  • money and finances
  • falling “out” of love
  • unmet expectations

And unfortunately, by the time a couple comes to see me it’s usually too far gone–the relationship is on life support–and divorce is on the horizon.

And I think the chief reason this happens is this: We can’t admit that there are problems.  We live in a world were everything appears to be perfect–we are inundated with this message day after day from Madison Ave.–and so when a storm kicks up, we hide it.  We don’t talk to one another or to any close friends.  We let our communication skills go to seed.  Anger and resentment creep in.  We look for solace wherever we can find it–be it in the arms of another person or in the bottom or a bottle–and we spiral downward.  All the time keeping the mask on that everything is okay.

We’ve gotten so used to the idea of divorce that it doesn’t really shock us nor does it snap us back to our senses in working at ways to make our marriages more healthy.  It’s almost inevitable when rough seas come up.  A couple assumes they weren’t meant for each other, and so they go their different ways.

Actually, they’ve decided either together or individually that what they have isn’t worth fighting for.

I think God wants us to have strong marriages that last a lifetime.  And unfortunately, that requires tough work.  It’s not easy.  But that might be a blessing in disguise.  We have a tendency to value that which costs us when we make it through the other side.  So keep at it.

If your marriage is on the rocks, I’m truly sorry because that’s a really crappy place to be.  I hope that you get help if you can, if not as a couple because your spouse is unwilling, at least on your own.  If you can’t find anyone, drop me a line.

And let’s realize that other couples and their recognized or non-recognized relationships don’t destroy our marriages. We do that all by ourselves, and it’s time to at least be honest about that.

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Valerie May 10, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    I read every single day that allowing same-sex couples to marry will mean the end of traditional marriage. It’s good to hear an intelligent statement from a person of faith. Thanks, Phil.

    It should be noted that Rush Limbaugh made the above statement. Neither his first, second, third, or fourth wife could be reached for comment.

  2. Andrea May 10, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    Well said Phil, on every level. And I say that as one who has family that are near and dear to me in non-traditional relationships which are, by far, stronger than many traditional ones, because they have that honesty often lacking otherwise. And, I also think being honest and working at communication can get taken for granted because we think, “Divorce happens to other people, not me.”
    God blessings to you,
    Andrea

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