Why Marriages Fail

Countless research studies and other investigations have been performed in order to gain insight into the reasons that marriages fail.  Part of the rationale for such research is that if information can be learned about problems, struggles, and the like that play a role in the dissolution of marriages then more attention can be given to identifying, preventing, and navigating through these difficult issues - thereby saving marriages.  Individuals who are sincerely committed to their partner and truly desire for their marriage to succeed can learn much from this type of information because it reveals areas to avoid and/or exercise caution.

The book When Love Dies by Karen Kayser, Ph.D. documents a considerable amount of research regarding disaffection and dissatisfaction that results in the dissolution of marriages.  One important study involved surveying a statistically representative group of individuals whose marriages had ended in divorce.  One of the most revealing questions asked in the study was aimed at identifying the factors that contributed the most to dissatisfaction with the relationship.  The top factors were as follows:
  1. Partner's controlling behavior (20%)
  2. Partner's lack of intimate behaviors (20%)
  3. Other negative trait of partner (e.g. disloyalty, interdependence, inability to give, etc.) (14%)
  4. Inability to resolve problems (8%)
  5. Different lifestyles (8%)
  6. Partner's lack of sexual interest (6%)
  7. Partners passivity (6%)
  8. Different expectations of marriage (4%)
  9. Partner's substance abuse (4%)
  10. Confrontations with in-laws (2%)
  11. Partner's lack of financial support (2%)
  12. Own self-esteem issues (2%)
  13. Unfulfilled expectations (2%)
[Note: The percentage total is slightly less than 100% due to rounding.]

All of these factors are significant and deserve attention.  Perhaps the most important finding, however, was that the top three responses reveal factors that are prevalent in over half of all marriages (54%).  It follows logically that if you can somehow avoid the presence of these negative behaviors and traits in your marriage then half the battle is already won!

In any case, it is of vital importance that you strive to gain insight into your own negative attributes and how they may be adversely effecting the relationship with your spouse.  Take responsibility for your actions and endeavor to build mutual accountability between you and your mate.  Foster an atmosphere of positive and open communication and learn to resolve disagreements and conflicts in a manner that protects and strengthens your marriage.
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