The following article was previously posted on the Focus on the Family web site. Here’s a portion of the answer they gave on their web site to the question: What are the “marriage killers” most responsible for today’s high divorce rate? Answer (written by a Focus on the Family counselor):
“It would take perhaps 50 volumes to describe them all, and even then we would only scratch the surface. Any one of the following ‘dragons’ can rip a relationship to shreds if given the opportunity to do so:
1.OVER-COMMITMENT and PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION:
Beware of this condition. It’s especially insidious for young couples who are trying to get started in a profession or in school. Do not try to go to college, 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. Why wouldn’t they? The only time they see each other is when they are worn out! Married couples must reserve time for one another if they hope to keep their love alive.
2.EXCESSIVE CREDIT & 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 few resources for dating, short trips, baby-sitters, etc. Use your funds with the wisdom of Solomon.
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. Selfishness devastates marital partners in short order.
4.UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH IN-LAWS:
If either the husband or the wife has 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 their children when they get married, and close proximity is a recipe for trouble.
Some couples come into marriage anticipating walks down primrose lanes, and unmitigated joy. There is no way a marriage between two imperfect human beings can deliver on that expectation. The late counselor Jean Lush believed, and I agree, that this romantic illusion is particularly characteristic of women, who expect more from their husbands than they’re capable of providing. The consequent disappointment is an emotional minefield.
By space invaders, I am not referring to aliens from Mars. Rather, my concern is for those who violate the ‘breathing room’ needed by their partners, quickly suffocating them and destroying attraction between them. Jealousy is one way the phenomenon manifests itself. Another is poor self-concept, which leads to the insecure spouse to build a cage around the other. It often suffocates the relationship. Love must be free, and it must be confident.
7.SEXUAL FRUSTRATION AND ITS PARTNER, THE ‘GREENER GRASS’ OF INFIDELITY:
It’s a deadly combination!
Failure in work does bad things to men especially. Their agitation over financial reverses sometimes precipitates anger within the family.
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” (Proverbs 30:8). Edward Fitzgerald said it another way: ‘One of the saddest pages kept by the recording angel is the record of souls that have been dam_ed by success.’ It’s true.
10.GETTING MARRIED TOO YOUNG:
Girls who marry between 14 and 17 years of age are more than twice as likely to divorce than those who marry at 18 or 19 years of age. Those who marry at 18 or 19 are 1.5 times as likely to divorce than those who marry in their 20’s. The pressure of youth and the stresses of early-married life do not mix well. Finish the first before taking on the second.
11. ALCOHOL and SUBSTANCE ABUSE:
These are notorious killers, not only of marriages, but of the people who indulge excessively.
12. PORNOGRAPHY, GAMBLING & OTHER ADDICTIONS:
It should be obvious to everyone that the human personality is flawed. It has a tendency to get hooked on destructive behaviors, especially early in life. During the introductory stage, people think they can tamper with various enticements, such as pornography, gambling, hard drugs, etc. without being hurt. Indeed, some do walk away unaffected. For some, however, there is a weakness and vulnerability that are unknown until it is 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 20-year study of those who wreck their lives. Their problems often begin in experimentation with a known vice and ultimately end in death…or the death of a marriage.
“These are a few of the common marriage killers. But in truth, the list is virtually limitless. All that is needed to grow the most vigorous weeds is a small crack in the 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.”
We hope that if you recognize any of these marriage killers attacking your marriage –you’ll be pro-active in finding ways to address them (and hopefully throw them out) to make your marital relationship as healthy as possible. We have additional articles linked to this message on our web site at www.marriagemissions.com
. Plus, all of these “marriage killers” are addressed in various articles and blogs that you can read through on the Marriage Missions web site, as well.
You may or may not have a spouse who will participate as he or she should in your relationship to destroy these “marriage killers”, but with the Lord’s help you can at least do YOUR part. Please don’t underestimate the importance of this in your personal integrity, your witness to others, and in your personal relationship with God. May He bless you as you apply yourself to reveal and reflect His ways and His heart in all you do.
Cindy and Steve Wright