Top Reasons Marriages Fail

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Shorter Version

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“Divorce is one of the most destructive, emotionally traumatic experiences a human being can go through, no matter if you’re the instigator or the recipient. It’s hard, and it hurts, and it takes a long time to feel normal again.”

~ Emily V. Gordon

It’s a bit scary

According to statistics, approximately 50% of marriages fail, which can be extremely scary if you are contemplating getting married. Unfortunately, this statistic doesn’t appear to be dwindling. For this reason young adults delay or forgo getting married. The truth is, a failed marriage can happen to any couple, regardless of race/ethnicity, age, education and socio-economic statuses, religion, or sexual orientation.

Here are the top reasons marriages fail

Most young couples want to ensure their unions will last before taking that big leap of faith. Although financial, problem-solving, and communication issues are often touted as some of the most common reasons why couples divorce, there are other, possibly less talked about, reasons. Listed below are the top reasons marriages fail.

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Read the longer version

You can learn more about reasons marriages fail by reading the following articles: 6 Reasons Marriages Fail by Christian Family Life, 7 Reasons Marriages Fail in the First 5 Years by Fatherly, The Most Common Reasons Marriages Fail, According To Divorce Lawyers by Healthyway, and 7 Surprising Reasons Marriages Fail That No One Talks About by Prevention.


An inability to forgive

It can be hard to forgive our spouses, so hard that it leads to failed marriages. Real forgiveness involves completely “letting go” of past hurts, which is challenging for many couples. When we keep rehashing old hurts, it prevents us from healing. The end result? Separation or divorce.
How can you forgive a spouse who has hurt you? By purchasing a forgiveness journal and writing down what happened and how it made you feel – at the moment and now. Try to document how you feel about what occurred every day, and pay close attention to the changes in your feelings.
Use your journal as a sounding board to sort out your feelings. This gives you a chance to forgive, without influence or persuasion. It’s important to think about what happened and how it made you feel. It’s also important to acknowledge and accept what occurred. If you dismiss or ignore what happened, it will lead to long-term anger, hostility, and resentment.
Take time to think about everything and try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes – almost like in a role-play scenario. Think about your role in the breakdown of your marriage. Acknowledging your mistakes will make it easier for you to truly forgive your spouse for their actions.
A failed marriage is rarely the result of one person’s actions. By acknowledging your role in the breakdown of marriage, you increase the odds that you can save your marriage.



One of the main causes of a failed marriage is mistrust. So, how can you re-learn how to trust your spouse again, once you have lost faith in them? By learning how to forgive. If you hold on to the pain, anger, and mistrust, it will eat you up inside and cause your marriage to fail.
If you need help learning how to forgive and trust your spouse again, check out the following articles: 9 Easy Ways to Trust Your Spouse Again and Moving Past the Betrayal: How to Rebuild Trust in Your Marriage. Also, make a list of the things you love about your spouse, i.e. ways they have been there for you in the past and all of the thoughtful, considerate, and loving things they’ve done for you.
Pull-out your photobooks or pull-up smartphone photos of the two of you for inspiration. Remember the good times you’ve had together – the times when you could really count on your spouse. Lastly, turn to the Bible and pray about it. Sometimes, you have to look to a Higher Power to forgive and trust someone who has hurt you.


Familial or societal pressure

Family or societal pressure can wreak havoc on a marriage. Most of us care what our families and society think of us. Whether we want to admit it or not, the opinions of others can influence our relationships – making or breaking them, in some cases. For instance, society may suggest that individuals should marry before they turn 30 so they can procreate. This causes both women and men to marry, not because they want to, but because they feel they should.
In addition, some families also pressure young couples to get married and have children, adding an additional element to the mix. The end result? Marrying too quickly and eventually divorcing because they don’t really know the person they married. So, how can you prevent a failed marriage due to familial or societal pressure? By thinking about whether you really want to get married.
Are you getting married because you feel ready to commit to your partner or because you feel you should? Make a list with two separate columns: (1) Why I want to get married and (2) Why I don’t want to get married. Be honest when you answer the questions. If the “do nots” outweigh the “dos,” it may not be the right time to get married.
You can prevent a failed marriage by seeking pre-marital counseling before you get married. A marriage counselor will help you hash-out issues before you commit to spending the rest of your lives together.



Addiction can contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. The truth is, addiction is powerful and very influential. When a person is addicted to something, he or she loses all perspective. The “substance” or activity takes precedence over everything else – even one’s spouse and one’s relationship. The result? A failed marriage.
What can you do if your spouse is addicted to something? Talk to him or her about your concerns, and encourage him or her to seek help. There are plenty of addiction treatment centers and support groups for addicts and their loved ones. Some of these support groups are: Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon Family Groups, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and Co-Dependents Anonymous.
If your spouse is suffering from an addiction, try to be both supportive and encouraging. Let your spouse know you love and support them, but also encourage them to seek help by explaining how much this behavior is hurting you and your marriage. If that doesn’t help, re-evaluate your relationship, and decide if it can be saved.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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