If experience is the greatest teacher, then divorce may be the best education in what it takes to make a marriage work.
Identifying these common reasons doesn’t mean that marriage is a bad thing. In fact, I believe in marriage. I also believe that most marriages can work, and are worth fighting for. All couples will go through tough times.
There will be times were you and your partner don’t like each other much, or can’t even have a civil conversation with each other, but there will still be some underlying love… the reason you got together in the first place.
According to socialite ‘Zimfitmums’ her marriage didn’t work because she’s a very opinionated woman. While the called her marriage irreconcilable, her parents called it strength and freedom of choice.
Society has taught us that woman must submit to their husband to make the marriage work. However, most women of the 21st century have ruled this as abuse and some go as far as describing it as sickening.
Below are some of the common reasons why marriages fail these days:
1.Lack of intimacy
In my practice, this issue has been the number one cause of divorce, or couples filing for divorce. I think if there was such a thing as a libido boosting pill for women, most of us would take it.
Men usually have a higher libido than women, and this can often cause issues in relationships. (There are women who present with a higher libido than their male partner, but this is less common. However, the counselling and solutions would be similar.)
Often, the woman will come for therapy first. She will be convinced that there is something wrong with her, and that she is not being a ‘good wife’ or sexual partner for her husband. She will even have had her hormones checked to see if there is anything wrong. Usually, there is nothing out of balance.
As we continue through therapy, we will find that it is not her hormones that are the problem, but the relationship itself. Solving the issue usually requires the couple to come for counselling together. We then work through a programme specifically designed for couples with “desire discrepancy” – the term we use when one partner has a higher libido than the other.
I have had many many success stories based on this programme, and I’ve become convinced that lack of sex and physical intimacy doesn’t need to lead to divorce.
2.An affair whether emotional or physical
Whether it is and emotional or physical affair, the effect is the same on a relationship.
Many people think that a physical affair is ‘worse’, but in fact, the resultant trauma is exactly the same. Betrayal leads to the breakdown of all of the bonds that hold a relationship together: emotional, physical, spiritual.
The trust, respect, loyalty, and communication are so damaged that many couples decide to divorce because they can’t find a way to get past the betrayal. I often see situations where the unfaithful partner leaves their marriage because they truly believe that they will find more happiness and fulfilment with the other person.
3.Lack of clear boundaries in the relationship
Another one of the things that seems to come between couples is the issue of boundaries and expectations. We all know what boundaries are, but we don’t often talk about them and verbalise them. Boundaries and expectations are also different for each person in a relationship. Boundaries are influenced by your own experiences, your background, your faith, and the examples that you’ve been shown in life.
For one person, having close friends of the opposite sex might not be an issue. For another person, it might be a complete no-no.
Because we don’t often verbalise our boundaries and expectations in relationships – we often just expect our partners to be on the same page as us – we end up being frustrated and resentful when these boundaries are crossed.
For example, if you don’t want your partner to chat to someone you don’t know on Facebook, then make that clear. Don’t get upset if they’re sending messages back and forth if you haven’t discussed the issue, and given your partner a chance to respond.
4.Growing apart – no joint interests
This is particularly important in long term relationships. Couples who have been together for a long time often find themselves looking at each other down the line and thinking “what do we have in common anymore?!”
People change over time. It’s natural. Life circumstances, kids, work, finding different hobbies, can all expand our horizons, and add to our characters.
The important thing in a long term relationship is to grow together, and to make a conscious effort to always maintain an intimate connection with each other.
I try to encourage my patients to start a new hobby together, or work on a project together that will ensure that they get to spend interesting, quality time growing as a couple.