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Why Do Marriages Fail? (Part 1)

“I, Mayra, take you, Gavin, to be my beloved husband in all things that come. In times of birth and in times of death; when we hurt and when we heal; in times of waiting and in times of fulfillment; as we build and as we tear down; as we change and as we grow; in times of war and in times of peace; when we weep and when we laugh; and as we mourn and as we dance.” As you may have gathered, this is a snippet of my wedding vows. At the end of this blog, I will modify them to be from the perspective of now.

A man and a woman exchanging vows during their wedding ceremony. If you need help navigating your marriage, please reach out to our caring therapists in Marietta, GA.

First let’s talk about why marriages fail. As I have sat with hundreds of couples doing marriage intensives at Hope Restored and at private practice, there is one thing that always pops up: we look for the other person to heal us and we also only want the other person to change. I fall into the many wives and husbands who think that I am working on myself therefore my spouse should ________________. My dear newlyweds, almost weds, and many-years-weds; your spouse should do nothing. You are not his condemner, his convictor, his savior, or his healer. Trust me when I say that there is a sense of unrighteous pride when we start thinking that if the other person changed then life would be better. It puts you in a victim mentally. It puts you in a helpless and powerless position of hopelessness because the more you try to control the marriage, the more you will feel disconnected. I want to help you see some common signs of what that looks like.

Caring For Someone in Marriage

At times, I have taken over responsibility for my husband. I stopped caring about him and started caring for him. You see, there is a difference between caring about and caring for someone. When we care about the person, we empathize with them, we support them, we sit with them in their highs and lows, we get curious about what’s going on in their lives, and we nurture our relationship. When we care for our spouse, we do things for them that they never asked of us, like put a Bible under their pillow, drag them to church, make their counseling appointments; we take responsibility for their emotional, spiritual, and mental well being. Most of the time, we use control to try to achieve this takeover. Here is a quick instagram post that will help illustrate this concept:

Pointing Fingers in Marriage

Have you ever changed because someone guilted you or criticized you or nagged you or demeaned you? If you have, the change did not last very long. As humans, the more we think about not doing something, the more we are likely to do so. When we point fingers at our spouse, we are judging the person in front of us. The Bible is very clear about this,

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

A couple in marriage counseling. If you need help with your marriage, reach out to a qualified therapist in Marietta, GA.

Nothing will change if you do not look inwardly first, because most of the time something bothers us because it triggers something within us. Have you ever seen a husband try to nudge his wife to stop talking? That has nothing to do with the wife but with the husband’s inner world feeling embarrassed ad trying to control her. The thought of, “What does it mean about me when she tells that joke? Did I choose wrong? Did I fail?” Have you ever heard a wife complain about her husband not doing something? That has nothing to do with the husband and more with how the wife feels about herself when he is not doing something. The thought of, “What does it mean about me when he doesn’t take the trash out? Am I not worthy? Am I being ignored? Am I a failure for choosing him?”

Choosing Everything Else Over Connection

We often think that connection just happens. Many movies and shows portray instant and lasting connection in the blink of an eye with one grand gesture. In reality, it does not JUST happen. Think about this for a minute… connection with God happens when we intentionally set time apart for Him and, in showing up, we show Him that he matters to us, and that creates connection. The same goes with our spouse - connection does not just happen. In our lives, we prioritize date nights over finances; we are saving less so we can feel connected because we value our connection. I need to be reminded as a wife that I don’t just love my husband but I like my husband and same goes for Gavin. The day to day can be like ships passing in the middle of the night. Sometimes when we cannot find babysitters, we sit outside and have intentional date time whether we use connection cards and or watch the sunset, we pause with each other and take deep breaths. Sometimes we have 5 minutes of couch time (this is an idea from a book). We ask Leona to play with her toys by herself because Mommy and Daddy are having couch time. We set a 5 minute timer and simply say hi to each other and ask how the other is doing? It’s simple and easy. We don’t have everything figured out and we only have 2 kids but what I want you to know is that connection does not require a set amount of time or a date or a weekend retreat; connecting with God and with our spouse for one minute is better than none. Value connection over not.

I could say so much more about this topic but I want you to think about doing these three things first:

  1. Ask the Lord: Where do I need to change?

  2. What have I seen in my spouse that I like/admire/respect that I cannot right now?

  3. Name three things that you are grateful to your spouse for (about who he is not what he does).

And always remember that there is nothing in the world that humility and the cross cannot overcome.

The vows I would say now:

A couple who just got married. If you are married and need help, consider reaching out to our caring therapists in Marietta, GA.

“I vow to seek God first in all we do. I vow to do inner healing. I vow to choose you every day and be thankful for you. I vow to fill my days with gratitude so I can see you the way God sees you. I vow to take responsibility for my actions, thoughts, and heart. I vow to seek wisdom and humility for the rest of our lives. In Jesus name, Amen!”

Begin Working With A Therapist in Marietta, GA

If you are going through a hard time and are in need of counseling, please consider reaching out to a qualified therapist or attending one of our marriage intensives. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

  • Reach out to talk to a Marietta therapist.

  • Have your first appointment at Remain Connected.

  • Learn how to handle your marriage in a healthy way.

Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling

Our team knows you may experience more than marriage issues. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapy, anxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.

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