Friday, May 25, 2012

Why Good Marriages Fail

                                    WHY GOOD MARRIAGES FAIL:


                                          Stephen Martin, MS. MFT.

Having spent the past 32 years working as a therapist guiding marriages, I have watched too many good marriages turn sour. I continually ask myself what causes this disastrous turn of events. No one gets married thinking it will fail, yet the divorce rates are too high.

My observation is that three causes are the predominant reasons for the failure of otherwise good marriages. If these three aspects of a marriage are understood and negotiated, marriages can escape the disaster of a divorce. If however, you let your relationship drift into neglect, this could destroy your relationship whether you get a divorce or not. Many couples elect to have an unhappy, lonely marriage rather than find a solution to their issues or get a divorce.

Why do so many marriages fail? First observation is that married couples begin to lose sight of their common purpose, the reason they got married in the first place. The couple had solid reasons for their marriage when it began. Most people use their wisdom and intuition to select a partner. Some might call this intuition romance, but romance alone will not sustain a marriage for a lifetime. With the passing of time and the inevitable growing apart that all marriages experience, you can lose sight of your original purpose for marriage. Some people accept divorce as a natural conclusion to losing their purpose. Others, who wish to continue their marriages, fight to regain that purpose and in so doing they can negotiate their way back into harmony instead of the continuing power struggle that occurs when two people are not working as a team, but rather are competing with each other and fighting most of the time.

If you have children together that is an excellent reason to stay married. Family is the original noble purpose for marriage. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was fashionable to get divorced and assume the children would be better off if they witnessed their parents happy rather than unhappily married. The research doesn’t support that conclusion. Children are often emotionally crippled by divorce if they are less than 18 years of age. Children crave security, especially in an unsafe world. If their parents cannot work out their problems, how can they imagine they can work out their issues? Children are the silent victims of divorce, and the current research proves that to be true.

Secondly, the couple loses the gentle art of communication and begins to be nasty and dishonorable towards each other. Just look at the two party systems in politics in the USA today. There is not gentle communication in politics. It starts out mean and nasty and only gets worse. Political parties have become enemies. Politics is now an internal war. If America was a marriage, it would be need to be divorced. Both parties are equally responsible for this behavior. They blame the other and refuse to compromise, while saying they are both willing to co-operate. This is not good for the country, and is disaster for a marriage. 

Marriage requires a gentle loving communication system, not a make no compromise position that the current political system has descended into. Marriage requires romance and civility, kindness and respect. Romance isn’t a one way street. Men require romance and civility just as much as women. Something is rotting inside politics today and we all know it. If you run your marriage the way politics is run, you will have nothing left but hatred, anxiety and chaos. Politics is for the political junkies to watch, not quiet, civil people who want harmony and respect in their lives. Politics will bring you emotional pain and fatigue, and so will a marriage that uses the tactics of politics within their marriages.

Third, marriages start to lose trust and belief in the sincerity, compassion and the love of their partner. This distrust begins in small areas and over years can develop into complete distrust. But once distrust sets in, it is like termites infecting your house. Termites are everywhere, and if infected, your home will need a tent with heavy duty chemicals to remove the millions of infesting insects. Trust is hard to re-establish. It requires honest communication and complete transparency between the couple. But without trust, marriages will eventually fail.

So, if you wish to have a good marriage, go in the opposite direction to politics as it is currently practiced. Find and renew your common team vision as a marriage, speak kindly and lovingly with each other, and compromise with honest communication to rebuild the trust in your partnership. Finally, leave politics to the politicians and the political junkies and rather than follow their example, use them as a lighthouse deacon warning of dangerous rocks that can ship wreck your marriage.

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