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Why Marriages Fail: Top 5 Red Flags the End is Near

Do you feel like your marriage is at risk for divorce? To understand what is going on and how to work on a problem, the reasons must be known why marriages fail.

The key is to understand what causes most unions to struggle and fail. Why do marriages fail?

This guide explains the most common reasons for divorce and why they happen.

Why Marriages Fail Pin

Red Flag #1: Infidelity

Why Marriages Fail Infidelity

Some couples can survive the upheaval of infidelity. However, that only comes with tears, hard work, and honesty. Trust takes a long time to earn and very little time to lose.

Marriage is unique because it’s unlike any other relationship in a person’s life, or at least it should be. Intimacy grows when couples share a deep trust. Each partner can bare their vulnerabilities in a safe and protective environment. When a person cheats on their spouse, they severely damage the trust that holds their marriage together. Not all marriages survive this.

People give many reasons for cheating on their spouses. However, infidelity is always a choice.

The stated excuse is often a legitimate problem that could be managed with emotional support and clear communication. Instead, infidelity creates an immediate marital crisis that often dwarfs the rest of the couple’s issues.

Infidelity can be a quick end to a marriage. Some people draw a hard line and refuse to stay with a cheating spouse. Other couples may try to work things out over time, but not all stay together.

Ultimately, it comes down to the couple’s willingness to rebuild trust and cope with emotional turbulence. It is easy to fail a marriage than to fix it.

Red Flag #2: Money problems

Why Marriages Fail Money Problems

Money touches nearly every part of a person’s daily life. It secures shelter, food, and other necessities. People also use money to experience pleasure, gain power, and maintain status.

These attachments to cash are a normal part of being human. But because of this complexity, financial issues are among the top reasons people get divorced.

Unfortunately, marriages do fail because of money issues. However, there are ways to resolve it.

Each marital partner has personal beliefs and emotional attachments to money. Some of the most uncomfortable conversations can help couples move past emotional hang-ups. But when one or both partners avoid talking about money, conflict can erupt over anything.

When communication becomes strained, feelings of isolation can set in. As a couple’s trust erodes, money is sometimes used as a weapon.

Bills need to be paid, and food needs to be bought. However, neither partner feels safe talking about the emotional undercurrent.

A wife who feels like her husband ignores her uses shopping sprees to cheer herself up. The extra spending causes her husband to feel stressed about their debt. In turn, he is rude to his wife when talking about money.

The husband and wife use money as an excuse for hurting the other. Harmful behaviors like these destroy trust and can eventually tear a marriage apart.

Red Flag #3: Lack of intimacy is a huge problem why marriages fail

Why Marriages Fail Lack of Intimacy

Marriage is a trusting connection meant to last a lifetime. For most married couples, monogamous sex is part of the package. This combination makes marriage unique. In this setting, intimacy can be meaningful and loving.

Sexual activity and interest change over the lifespan of a marriage. One partner is often more interested than the other at any given time. Physical or mental health issues can put intimacy on hold for months or years.

These ups and downs are all regular in any long-term relationship. However, intimacy problems become critical when the couple stops talking. Both partners make assumptions when time goes by with little to no intimate activity. Resentment grows, and trust withers.

Without active open communication, emotional intimacy begins to die. When the spark between a couple goes out, a divorce may be the last step in a long journey.

Red Flag #4: Marrying for the wrong reasons is obvious why marriages like this fail

Married for the Wrong Reasons

Some people ignore many red flags at the beginning of a relationship. They are willing to overlook problem areas to avoid leaving their comfort zone. They choose to look away instead of making a tough decision. Breaking up can be scary and stressful, so they swallow their concerns and continue.

Take a young college girl like Jenna, for example.

She recently married her college boyfriend, primarily out of comfort and familiarity. He is kind to her; they have been together for many years. She isn’t sure they are as good of a match now that they are older. However, she fears throwing away a sure thing. Starting over with someone new feels too risky.

Jacob’s family has a lot of influence over major decisions in his life. They strongly approve of his wife because she is from a well-known and respected family in town.

He fears his family would be very disappointed in him if they broke up. Jacob’s wife is a kind woman with social status, but they mostly have superficial things in common. He hopes they might learn to love each other more over time.

Both situations demonstrate how a tenuous relationship can still lead to marriage. Things look good enough on the outside to keep going, and no one questions the decision. But if red flags are ignored from the beginning, it won’t take long before a weak marriage unravels.

Red Flag #5: Addiction

Why Marriages Fail Addiction

Addiction can become a harmful third wheel in a relationship. A successful marriage keeps going because both partners respect and care for each other. With addiction, a person’s focus becomes self-serving and self-destructive. A person struggling with addiction cannot have healthy relationships without treatment and support.

Untreated addiction consumes a person’s life in several ways. Heavy substance use lowers a person’s inhibitions and interferes with clear thinking. Risky behaviors start making daily life difficult.

Poor financial decisions, driving under the influence, criminal activity, and abusive behavior happen more often. All of these issues erode trust and communication with a spouse. It is one of the many reasons why marriages fail.

Addiction is more than just drinking or drug use—a destructive way of living tears a person away from everything positive. Getting a marriage back on track requires treatment and extra support for the entire family.

Some marriages cannot endure the upheaval of addiction, even with treatment and support. The non-addicted spouse faces enormous stress while dealing with an unpredictable partner. Sometimes divorce allows both individuals to live a safer and more stable life.

The 7-Year Inch’s Effect on Failing Marriages: Fact or Fiction?

Couple is upset with each other

As newlyweds get used to married life, they enjoy the stability and closeness of new marriage. As with most good things, the novelty eventually wears off. After a few years, real life settles in, and the shine comes off. For some couples, this triggers a period of doubt and dissatisfaction.

People grow and change, jobs come and go, and children often enter the picture in the first few years. This time of adjustment is healthy and doesn’t necessarily cause significant problems. However, some people start to wonder if their marriage is a mistake.

The 7-year itch isn’t a proven phenomenon. However, it does seem to exist for many couples after the first several years.

Depending on the situation, the irritation could come at seven, ten, or even twelve years. Ultimately, teams undergoing this adjustment can struggle together or in isolation.

Roughly half of the couples end in divorce.

Those who successfully get through the first significant adjustment period will do better than the following. For some couples, the itch starts and never goes away. Infidelity and other distractions pull spouses apart, making divorce more likely.

Divorce after Having a Baby

Many marriages have two periods in the early years, Before Kids and After Kids. Few things change the dynamic between two partners more than adding children.

While many parents are happy to grow their family over the years, parenthood takes a toll on the marriage. Raising children takes energy, time, and patience, making it a couple of times more challenging.

Before kids, parents can spend time how they wish, either together or apart. They cater only to themselves. A baby has round-the-clock needs, sometimes causing even the most energetic parent to feel drained.

The problems often begin with unmet or unrealistic expectations. Parenting and marriage needs must be rebalanced frequently. Communication, emotional stability, trust, and stress management skills will be tested during this time.

Why Marriages Fail Explained: A Real Life Example With First-time Parents

Joe works full-time and is a first-time father to his wife, Megan. As a first-time mother, she is very focused on doing things the right way. This concern stems from growing up in a strict household where her mother managed many details of family life.

Megan feels pressured to live up to this standard but is uneasy talking about it. She gets short with Joe when he interrupts the schedule or does things differently.

Joe wants to take part in caring for their baby and is frustrated when Megan won’t let him. In return, he often spends extra time at work or out with friends to avoid being snapped at.

He misses how relaxed Megan was before the baby and wishes they could resume sex. Megan gets consumed by everything she does for their baby but also feels lonely because Joe isn’t around much. She wishes she could feel more relaxed and comforted.

If Megan and Joe start sharing their concerns, they will make it through this rough patch. If they continue to isolate themselves, the gap can widen over time. At some point, it may be too late to save the marriage.

The Choice of Divorce

Marriage isn’t easy, and many marriages don’t make it. Communication, empathy, and a willingness to listen can help troubled marriages recover. Divorce is sometimes the only choice left on the table. Many times we do not want our marriages to fail; that’s why willing to work things out for the best of both partners well being

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Jennifer Tanaka

Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a passion for helping couples struggling within their marriage, relationship, or during the divorce process.