You're going into your marriage with your heart in the right place—because you're in love and want to spend your lives together!—but even as the divorce rate drops, not every marriage is destined for success. However, yours doesn't have to be one of the ones that fail. Our experts are here to break down four reasons marriages might not succeed and share some tips to keep yours strong.
The best way to make sure your marriage is a success story is to know the key things that can cause a marriage to fail, then put in the time and effort to make sure it doesn't happen to you. Dating strategist Jasmine Diaz shares four essential parts of any relationship that can lead to divorce if not addressed.
Lack of Communication
"Many couples either don't know how to communicate their feelings effectively enough for their partner to understand and receive what they're saying or simply don't communicate at all," says Diaz. "It may sound clichéd, but communication is the foundation of every relationship. How can you expect your partner to make positive changes for the betterment of your relationship if he or she doesn't know changes are needed?" Remember, your husband or wife is not a mind reader!
If communication is not your specialty, set aside a time once a week for a real catch-up session. "Spend this time talking about your week and any issues you might be having. Instead of making it awkward or confrontational, order a pizza and turn it into a lighthearted discussion," Diaz suggests. By talking regularly, you'll avoid getting to the point where the wheels are falling off and it's too late for candid conversations to help. "It's better to schedule regular check-ups to ward off more serious issues. Why wait until you're in critical condition?" asks Diaz.
Lack of Care
Every relationship reaches a point when the white gloves come off and the comfort sets in. Comfort has its upsides, but the problems arise when that comfort turns into consideration going out the window. "Being considerate means caring for your partner's feelings, showing your partner that you love and value them, and being their champion," says Diaz. "Marriages tend to fail when one partner (or both) stops caring for the other, when the friendship you once had is replaced with anger and resentment. This causes you to stop seeing the things you love about your partner, replacing them with the things you hate."
Avoid this lack of consideration and care by pouring healthy energy into your relationship. "Don't go weeks or months without a date night," Diaz advises. "Schedule a few dates per month to keep your feelings fresh. Tend to your relationship with a healthy dose of love and attention."
Lack of Commitment
"They say that anything worthwhile takes hard work, and the same is true for marriage," says Diaz. "But if you're the type of person who doesn't like confrontation or gives up easily, you may find yourself divorced more quickly than you realize." She emphasizes recognizing if you're not ready to talk about a problem yet—but never acting as though the problem doesn't exist. "Being in a healthy relationship takes a certain level of availability, and you have to be willing to stick it out when the going gets rough, because it will. Be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually present in your relationship and for your partner. Listen even when you don't agree, and make a conscious decision to put in the work." If you make divorce an option for dealing with tough situations, it will become a default opt-out. "Instead, say to your partner, 'I want to fix this.' You'll be surprised by the solutions that will come out of it!"
Lack of Intimacy
Intimacy, by definition, is about closeness and togetherness. But for some couples, relationship problems can become a barrier to entry. "The closeness you felt in the early stages of your relationship can be replaced with different emotions, and that once-free-flowing sex life can be diminished from once a day to once a month to never," says Diaz.
"It's easy to look at sex and try to find a simple solution—for some this means more sex—but that treats the symptoms and may not treat the actual problem if there's a breakdown of intimacy," Diaz explains. "Combat it by creating more opportunities for intimate moments. Light candles and play romantic music while you're cooking at home. Enhance the things you already do together, and dedicate yourself to being present. Forget technology and consider only your partner, giving yourselves the opportunity to create intimacy."