Marriage problems are much more common than happy marriages. In fact, you aren’t likely to find even a happy marriage that doesn’t have its share of difficulties. A happy marriage is possible; but lasting happiness is, for most people, a frustrating myth – the proverbial magic unicorn. Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce; while the other half are a mixture of miserable arrangements, unpleasant unions, outright battlefields, a few amicable partnerships and, yes, an occasional unicorn. The bottom line is that marriage is not for wimps. Statistically, the deck is stacked against you where “happily ever after” is concerned.
This article may seem anti-marriage or a bit more cynical than most of my articles on relationships; but, in the case of marriage, reality is not pretty and ignoring the truth doesn’t change it. If you want a chance at saving your marriage, you’ve got to come to grips with some of the reasons most marriages cannot be saved. I’m not talking about infidelity, dishonesty, abuse, insensitivity or any of the other obvious issues that lead to marriage problems and divorce; I’m talking about the issues behind some of those problems and the reasons most marriages cannot survive such problems and become irretrievably broken. Here’s a list of five-common reasons most marriages are destined to fail or fall disappointingly short of the bliss most couples think they’re signing-up for:
1. You probably got married for the wrong reason – most people do – and are therefore lacking adequate common goals and incentives to invest more in your marriage than you already have. This is most likely true for at least you or your spouse if not both of you. The reason you got married was either a lie, or has since disappeared, leaving you with no reason to stay together or work on a relationship.
2. Most people only see their side of a situation and are convinced they’re right. Or, they aren’t willing to consider any other view or the fact that they may not be right. In other words, most people want their partner to change so they can be happier.
3. It is rare to find two people who are both interested in personal growth and development – which is exactly what people need to grow beyond their current problems and limitations. What you know at this point in your life has led you to where you are now; you need to learn new things to grow beyond this point – including growing in your relationship.
4. The sad fact is that marriage simply doesn’t work out for people who are not self-disciplined and compassionate; that’s why most marriages suck so bad that they either end in divorce or are sources of misery and bad jokes for those trapped in them. Of course, if you can find two people dedicated to being kind to one another, marriage can be the best thing Earth has to offer. Needless to say, those couples are rare; and most people are more concerned with what’s for dinner, what’s on television or what they have in the bank than they are with each other or with building a strong relationship.
5. Chances are that you or your spouse invest more time in everything else than in each other. It takes two to tango; and, if either of you spends more time watching television, surfing the Internet, playing video games, working, chatting or hanging out with friends, or are otherwise engaged outside the marriage, than you may stay married for quite some time, but an unhappy marriage is not a good thing to hold onto. Unhappy marriages are things that should be fixed or discarded as quickly as possible before they lead to stress, unwanted weight gain, illness, and other disasters and misery.
You certainly can fix any marriage or marital problem – as long as you have two people willing and equipped to work together to fix it. The first step is making sure you want to salvage the marriage and then determining if the marriage is salvageable. If you cannot overcome these issues, you simply won’t be able to save your relationship. If you want to save your marriage, consider these issues and try to address them without shame, blame or criticism. If you and your partner can come to the realization that problems are natural and solvable – and find some common ground and incentive to work together to solve them – then you just might find that unicorn.