You know that couple who was always so perfect? The couple that seemed like every night they had a blast together, whether it was hanging at home in sweatpants or trying that new rock-climbing gym. They were so adventurous, so cute, so cool. They were the “It” couple.
Then they got a divorce.
It was such a shock, and it totally screwed up your idea of the perfect marriage. Who could have expected it?
Well, maybe you could have if you had known the following three things. These are the most critical mistakes that rip marriages apart, and chances are, it was one of these faults that did their marriage in.
These Are the Mistakes That Lead to Divorce
- Unrealistic Expectations
Far and away, having unrealistic expectations is what ends marriages says Laura Wasser, a divorce lawyer for celebrities. She says it’s how we’re raised: To believe that respect and love are the keystones to marriage, when in fact, it’s more likely to be acceptance that’s the key. In particular, it’s an acceptance of reality.
You hear the quote, “All marriages are difficult and take work. All marriages involve fights.” But has that really sunk in? Maybe not.
Maybe you think, “Oh yeah, sure, but the fights will be passionate, and I will still feel nothing but pure love for them even when we’re arguing. And then we’ll have great makeup sex.”
Actually, you will probably be thinking something more along the lines of, “Why did I ever even marry this difficult person!?” while you’re fighting. And when you finally part ways, you might not even feel better about things.
In this way, unrealistic expectations are sometimes there from the start. How can you spot it? It can happen when you decide to get married and then immediately focus only on the wedding instead of seeing the wedding as a step toward marriage. It happens when you imagine that your marriage will be “the way you pictured it when you were 16” or “just like your favorite movie.” And when you tell friends that your spouse is “just perfect.” And you believe that.
Because no, they’re not perfect. And neither are you. At it’s core, marriage is a bargain between two imperfect people to basically hang out together and be connected for the rest of your lives. Think about it that way and you might have better luck … and more fun.
- Avoiding Important Conversations
Money. Careers and Relocating. Religion and Politics. Kids and In-Laws.
Nobody is excited to have these conversations with their spouse unless they already know that they’ll both be on the same page.
Are you both Liberal Christians who want to live close to your parents and have kids? Perfect. You could probably talk about those topics of conversation over and over without one serious fight.
But what about how you spend your money? Maybe that one gets left off the table because one person’s a saver and the other’s a spender. Well, that’s the conversation you need to force yourself to have.
In fact, let’s just say it: Money’s the big one according to Gabrielle M. Clemens, a certified divorce financial analyst. Gabriel says that if a couple doesn’t discuss how money will be spent, saved and earned before they get married or at the start, it’s basically a ticking time bomb.
For other couples, the ticking bomb may be religion or politics. As a basic rule of thumb: Whatever conversation you don’t want to have … is the one you should have.
- Not Putting Forth Effort (Especially When It Comes to Sex)
A lot of marriages get comfortable after a while. You don’t get dressed up for each other any more. You say “Hey” when you get home from work and then click on the TV instead of kissing hello and asking each other about your days. You’re more obsessed with social media than each other. You whine when your partner gets long-winded about a work problem instead of listening patiently.
Most importantly, if you’re not putting forth effort, you probably don’t have sex regularly. This is a big problem. Sex ties two people in a marriage together in an extremely intimate way. When you don’t have sex often, you can feel like you’re living with a roommate instead of actually married to each other.
Putting forth effort is just that: Effort. Meaning you won’t feel like doing it a lot of the time. But just remember that you should anyway.
One more vital thing that you must do if you want your marriage to be successful:
When you think of putting forth effort, you probably think most of taking action: Buying flowers or little presents, keepin’ it tight and looking hot, doing little favors for each other.
But sometimes, you have to put forth effort not to do something too. Namely, don’t say every little think that pops into your head. Or if you prefer, pick your battles.
Sure, she’s been making that clicking noise with her tongue for the past 30 miles, and it’s about to make you drive straight into the lake. Yes, the fact that he seems to be physically unable—!?—to clean the food trap in the sink after doing the dishes is … “upsetting.”
But do you really wanna go there? Holding back everything will certainly lead a knot of bad feelings. And this can lead to a stomach ache that grows and grows until … well, an explosive fight happens just because someone forgot to replace the toilet paper.
Consider how important whatever it is really is. Recognize that your partner probably holds negative thoughts back too because they’re not that important. And if you just have to say something, use your kindest, most loving words.
Is It Too Late for Your Marriage?
Marriage is hard. We’ve established that in a myriad of ways. You may even know it from personal experience.
And if you do, we know you feel helpless right now. So distant from your partner, almost like you two are strangers.
Well, the first thing you need to know is that it’s never too late to save a marriage. It’s going to take work, but so does every marriage. You’ll need to start from your end.
Mend the Marriage is a well-known program for people just like you—people who want to strengthen their unions with their partners and make sure that divorce is not even in the picture.
This is doable. Already, hundreds of couples have used the techniques and methods from this program to mend their own marriages. There’s a program for men and one for women. Even when one partner initially doesn’t even want to resolve things, this program works.
Don’t let the past dictate the future with your spouse. Today is a new day, and it can mark the beginning of your journey toward a marriage with a rock-solid foundation if you want it to.