Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 30. 5

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View March 2008 Issue >>
 

12 Marriage Killers

 

My advice to young couples is simply this: Don’t permit the possibility of divorce to enter your thinking. Even in moments of great conflict and discouragement, divorce is no solution. It merely substitutes a new set of miseries for the ones left behind.

 

Guard your relationship against erosion as though you were defending your very lives. Yes, you can make it together. Not only can you survive, but you can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values. Any one of the following evils can rip your relationship to shreds if given a place in your lives:

 

Over-commitment and physical exhaustion

This condition is especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a profession or are studying. Do not try to study, work full-time, have a baby, manage a toddler, fix up a house and start a business at the same time. It sounds ridiculous, but many young couples do just that and are then surprised when their marriages fall apart. The only time they see each other is when they are worn out!

 

Selfishness

There are two kinds of people in the world, the givers and the takers. A marriage between two givers can be a beautiful thing.  Friction is inevitable for a giver and a taker. But two takers can claw each other to pieces within a period of weeks

 

Unhealthy relationships with in-laws

If either the husband or wife have not been fully emancipated from the parents, it is best not to live near them. Autonomy is difficult for some mothers and fathers to grant.

 

Unrealistic expectations

Some couples come into marriage anticipating rose-covered cottages, walks down primrose lanes and unmitigated joy. There is no way a marriage between two imperfect human beings can deliver on that expectation. Wives must not expect more from their husbands than they are capable of providing.

 

Space invaders

My concern is for those who violate the ‘breathing room’ needed by their partners, quickly suffocating them and destroying the attraction between them. Jealousy is one way the phenomenon manifests itself. Another is a poor self-concept which leads the insecure spouse to build a cage around the other. It often suffocates the relationship. Love must be free and it must be confident.

 

Excessive credit and conflict over how money will be spent

Pay cash for consumable items, or don’t buy. Don’t spend more on a house or a car than you can afford, leaving too little resources for dating, short trips, baby-sitters, etc. Allocate your funds with wisdom.

 

Sexual frustration and its partner, the greener grass of infidelity

It is a deadly combination!

 

Business collapse

Failure in work does bad things to men especially. Their agitation over financial reverses sometimes sublimates to anger within the family.»

 

Business success

It is almost as risky to succeed wildly as it is to fail miserably in business. King Solomon wrote: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” Prov 30:8. It’s true.

Getting married too young

Girls who marry between fourteen and seventeen years of age are more than twice as likely to divorce as those who marry at eighteen or nineteen years of age. Those who marry at eighteen or nineteen are 1.5 times as likely to divorce as those who marry in their twenties. The pressures of adolescence and the stresses of early married life do not mix well. Finish the first before taking on the second.

 

Alcohol &  substance abuse

These are notorious killers, not only of marriages but also of the people who indulge excessively. It has been said that upwards of a third of all Americans and Canadians are close family members of an alcoholic.

 

Pornography, gambling & other addictions

It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. During an introductory stage, people think they can tamper with various enticements, such as pornography, gambling, hard drugs, etc., without being hurt. Indeed, many do walk away unaffected. For some, however, there is a weakness and vulnerability that is unknown until too late. Such people then become addicted to something that tears at the fabric of the family. This warning may seem foolish and even prudish to my readers, but I’ve made a twenty-year study of those who wreck their lives. Their problems often began in experimentation with a known vice and ultimately ended in death . . . or the death of a marriage.

 

Marriage needs determination

These are the marriage killers I’ve seen most often. But in truth, the list is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in your sidewalk. If you are going to beat the odds and maintain an intimate long-term marriage, you must take the task seriously. 

The natural order of things will carry you away from one another, not bring you together. How will you beat the odds? How will you build a solid relationship that will last until death takes you across the great divide? How will you include yourselves among that dwindling number of older couples who have garnered a lifetime of happy memories and experiences? Even after 50 or 60 years, they still look to one another for encouragement and understanding.

Their children have grown up in a stable and loving environment and have no ugly scars or bitter memories to erase. Their grandchildren need not be told, delicately, why “Nana and Papa don’t live together anymore.” Only love prevails.

That is the way God intended it to be, and it is still possible for you to achieve. But there is no time to lose. Reinforce the river banks. Brace up the bulwarks. Bring in the dredges and deepen the bed. Keep the powerful currents in their proper channels. Only that measure of determination will preserve the love with which you began, and there is very little in life that competes with that priority.

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