It’s natural to think that the one thing that could spell disaster for any marriage is cheating. Though this may be true for most cases, there are a myriad of other, often overlooked, reasons why marriages fail. It’s important for couples to be aware of the little things early on, to lessen the chances of being blindsided in the future.
Here are 15 overlooked reasons why marriages fail, according to experts.
1. Internet addiction
You’re most likely reading this on a laptop or mobile device. Think about it: how many hours a day do you spend in front of a computer screen? Being dependent on the internet can actually open your relationship up to various distractions, as well as temptations.
“There are many ways to cheat using the internet,” cautions Wendy L. Patrick. “One example I call cyber-straying involves covertly looking up old flames and high school sweethearts, despite being (supposedly happily) married to someone else. Curiosity compromises trust and secrets are relationship saboteurs. The key to resisting temptation is to avoid it. Use Facebook to keep up with family and close friends, not shadow your high school flame. And reflect your marital status in your social media profiles to avoid old flames reaching out to you.”
2. Bad manners
Family law attorney Cydney Bulger stresses the importance of staying “polite and courteous” towards your spouse. Respect them even when life’s stresses or frustrating circumstances get in the way. Don’t take for granted the value of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ even if you’ve been together for years.
Over the years, couples can get too comfortable and tolerant of one another, allowing certain bad habits, like lying and fault-finding, slide. Be aware of these bad manners and keep yourself and your partner in check.
Not knowing how to compromise is one of the serious and silent dangers of marriage. Psychiatrist Ashwini Nadkarni tells Yahoo that couples often mistake “compromise” to mean that you should give your partner what they want often.
“Actually, the true definition of compromise in the context of marriage is that neither party gets what they really want,” she says, “Marriage is tough. You have to be constantly ready to give something up, even after it seems like you’ve already given up everything. Without accepting this definition of compromise, people move towards a break-up.”
4. Loss of attraction
“No amount of counselling or talking through a problem is going to fix broken attraction. If one or both partners gains a lot of weight, loses passion, or changes significantly in some way, it is going to impact the romantic connection, turning marriage into a roommate or friendship situation,” said relationship expert/counsellor David Bennett, caution how it could lead to temptations that end marriages.
He also emphasised that it is not a “shallow,” but a valid concern. Because romantic chemistry and attraction are integral to a lasting marriage. This is not to say that one should maintain your looks or waistline, but rather seeing beauty in your partner through all of life’s seasons.
5. Money issues
Sadly, couples can make financial mistakes that can ruin their marriage. According to Forbes, examples of these are conflicting attitudes or values towards money or excessive materialism. There is also what experts call “financial infidelity,” or when you bring “undisclosed debt” into your marriage and you become secretive about your spending.
6. You don’t fight the right way
Having a healthy marriage doesn’t mean you never fight. In fact, compatibility in resolving conflicts, or knowing how to fight the right way, can even strengthen your marriage. We all grew up acquiring different towards conflict resolution. While some think yelling is the best way to solve problems, some may feel simply sweeping things under the rug or ignoring it altogether is best.
So how should you face marital issues? You should practice restraint and openness, says Karl Pillemer Ph.D. in the Huffington Post. If you’re too upset, try to get away from your partner to calm down, in so doing you also avoid blurting out hurtful things. Then, engage and truly acknowledge your partner’s side once you’re no longer too upset to listen.
7. You have different love languages
There are different love languages, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, who is the author of the bestselling book The 5 Love Languages. Your love language is either quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, or gift-giving. Determining your own love language as well as your partner’s helps you be more sensitive to each other’s needs and it will deepen the way you perceive romance and affection.
8. You focused too much on the wedding, not on the actual marriage
“Too many couples spend their time planning a wedding and not planning their marriage,” says psychotherapist Amy Morin in an interview with Yahoo. “They don’t invest enough time talking about their expectations for the future. They don’t discuss important issues. If people invested more time into planning their future together as a couple, they could address their expectations and adjust their plans to meet one another needs.”
Don’t be fixated on getting hitched without a hitch. Instead, accept that there will be challenges throughout your wedding and marriage, but that you can laugh through them together.
9. You’re too alike!
There’s more to the saying “opposites attract” because if couples aren’t exactly similar, they are able to challenge and enrich each other in exciting ways. But compatibility is not something that’s simply there, it can be worked on, says Psychology Today. It is a process of discovery, negotiation; it’s something that you have to work on overtime. All you need is a willingness to work at it, along with a good attitude and disposition.
10. Bad sex
Sex therapist Holly Richmond stresses the importance of having great sex. This may come easy early on, she says, but over time, couples need to work at keeping it exciting. You must make sure you communicate your wants and needs about sex with your partner in order for intimacy to be even more satisfying.
11. One of you isn’t growing
When, for instance, you are thriving and continuously improving as a person, while your partner isn’t, it could be harmful to your relationship. Especially for couples who are trying to move past a big challenge, if you’re not on the same page, it could only cause further conflict. Try to build each other up and encourage one another to grow as an individual. This will surely help make your relationship even more rewarding and meaningful.
12. One of you has “adult ADHD”
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, though commonly seen in children, can also affect adults. If the symptoms are left undiagnosed, it can lead to frustration and misunderstanding. But once couples acknowledge this condition, they can better deal with it and avoid it from ruining their marriage. Learn more about this condition, here.
13. Apathy: you simply don’t care
“Infidelity is a common cause of marriage breakdown with good reason. But the problems started way before the cheating happened,” author of The Marriage You Never Dreamed Of Brian Taylor tells Yahoo, adding that allowing your marriage to take the back seat makes it “grey and boring” and could lead to temptation, as you will find others more interesting than you spouse.
14. Unrealistic expectations
Not communicating and managing expectations early on in the relationship can cause deeper problems down the road. It can breed resentment, too, as it is often dealt with through passive-aggressive behaviour.
In fact, author Kimberly Wagner believes it is the top marriage killer couples should watch out for, along with being overly controlling, having vain imaginations, being condescending, and harbouring heartache.
15. You focus on instant gratification
Marriage counsellor Bruce Cameron thinks that living in an “on-demand culture” affects marriages when one puts their needs over the needs of the partner. His advice is to put your partner’s needs first, so you can better address your own.
Relationship coach Sam Owen agrees, being impatient can lead to more pain and problems in the future. Though it is important to value self-care, it should be tempered with patience and understanding, driven by genuine love and concern for the person you have vowed to share your life with.
Also READ: Wong Li-Lin’s keeping her divorce reasons a secret. Why marriages fail
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.