The Marriage Lesson I Learned Too Late (2023)

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The things that destroy love and marriage are often disguised as unimportant. There are not many dangerous things eitherAppearStillto feeldangerous as they happen. They are not bombs and shots. They are punctures. they are scissors. And that is the danger. If we don't recognize something as a threat, then we are not on our guard. These small wounds begin to bleed, and the bleeding is so gradual that many of us don't realize the threat until it's too late to stop it.

I have spent most of my life believing that what ended marriages was behavior that I considered serious crimes. If murder, rape, and armed robbery are felonies in the criminal justice system, I considered sexual intercourse, physical abuse by spouses, and gambling family savings as felonies in marriage.

The Marriage Lesson I Learned Too Late (1)

Since I have not committed a felony, I would suggest that if my wife and I were on opposite sides of an issue, we agree to disagree. I believed that she was wrong, either that she misjudged the situation or that she was treating me unfairly. It always seemed like the punishment didn't fit the crime, like he was charging me with first degree murder, even though my crime was closer to slightly over the speed limit with a burnt out taillight, which I didn't even know about. it burned.

The reason my marriage failed seems absurd as I describe it:My wife left me because sometimes I leave the dishes by the sink.

It makes them look ridiculous and makes me look like a victim of unfair expectations. But it wasn't the dishes, not really, it was what it represented.

Read: Washing dishes is the worst

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Hundreds, maybe thousands, of times my wife tried to tell him that something was wrong. that something hurtsBut that doesn't make senseThought.I'm not trying to hurt her; so she doesn't feel hurt.

We didn't go down in a fiery explosion. We bled for 10,000 paper cuts. Calm. Slow.

She knew something was wrong. I insisted that everything was fine. Thus ended my marriage. Yours could end like this too.

Each couple has their own unique version of The Same Fight. Can be anything. Throw clothes on the floor. Follow Mud around the house right after your partner has cleaned up. It doesn't matter what the real thing is. For us it was dishes next to the sink.

Sometimes I leave used glasses by the kitchen sink, inches from the dishwasher. That's not so important to me right now. When I was married I didn't care. Butguerrabig problem for her. Every time my wife walked into the kitchen to discover the glass she had placed by the sink, she got closer and closer to moving out and ending our marriage. She just didn't know it yet.

you may be wonderingHi Matt! Why would you leave a glass by the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher?

Some reasons:

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  1. You might want to use it again.
  2. Personally, I don't mind if there is a glass next to the sink unless there are guests. I'll never care hehe It's impossible. It's like being asked to be interested in crocheting or to enjoy gardening.

There's only one reason I'll stop leaving that glass by the sink, and it's a lesson I learned too late: because I love and respect my partner, and they really care.

I think I thought my wife should respect me just because I took her vows. It wouldn't have been the first time she had acted legitimately. What I do know for sure is that I never associated putting a plate in the dishwasher with earning my wife's respect.

Read: The Gender Researcher's Guide to Equal Marriage

I think sometimes these little things blow up in The Same Fight because we may not think it's fair that our partner's preferences always trump our own. It's like we're fighting for our right to leave that jar there.

The reaction could be something like this:

Do you want to spend a quiet evening arguing with me about that glass? After all the great things I do to make our lives possible, things I never hear thanked for (not ask for), would you raise a glass by the sink to marital problems? I could not bethepetty if I tried. If you want the glass in the dishwasher, put it yourself without telling me. Otherwise, I put it away when people come over or when I'm done with it. This is a shit fight that feels unfair.

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I wanted my wife to agree that, putting life in perspective, a glass by the sink is not a big deal that should spark an argument. I thought you should realize how insignificant and meaningless you were in the grand scheme of life. I repeated this train of thought for almost 12 years, hoping that she would finally agree with me.

But she never did. She never agreed.

I've been arguing about the merits of a glass by the sink. But my wife didn't care for the glass. It wasn't about dishes by the sink or clothes on the floor of her or her trying to escape the task of caring for our son, for whom there is nothing she wouldn't do.

It was about consideration. About the ever-present feeling that she was married to someone who didn't respect or appreciate her. And if he didn't respect or appreciate her, then he didn't love her in a way that made me feel trustworthy. She couldn't count on the adult who had promised to love her forever, because none of this washing dishes in the sink felt like being loved.

I now understand that leaving the glass there left my wife in pain, literally causing her pain, because it made her feel like she was saying, “Hey. I do not respect you or value your thoughts and opinions. Not taking four seconds to put my glass in the dishwasher is more important to me than it is to you."

Suddenly, that moment isn't about something as benign and meaningless as a dirty glass. Now this moment is about a significant act of love and sacrifice.

My wife knew that I was reasonably intelligent, so she couldn't understand how I could be so dumb after hundreds of these conversations. She began to wonder if she was trying to hurt her on purpose and if she loved her at all.

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Here's the thing. A plate by the sink in no way feels painful or disrespectful to a spouse who wakes up each day to witness a spouse communicating in word and deed how important and valued their spouse and their relationship is. My wife hasn't dumped shit on a plate by the sink because she's such an insufferable whiner that she's had to get away with it all along. My wife expressed her pain and frustration at the frequent reminders that told her over and over again how little they considered her when making decisions.

When we're in The Fight Itself, positive intent or blaming the hurt as accidental can kill trust just as much as more overt hurtful actions. It doesn't matter if we intentionally refuse to cooperate with our spouse or legitimately don't understand what is wrong: the mathematical results are the same. The net result of The Same Fight is more pain. less confidence Regardless of anyone's intentions.

This is how two well-meaning people slowly fall apart.

If I had to sum up the problems of failed relationships in one idea, it would be our colossal failure to make the invisible visible, our failure to spend time and effort cultivating an awareness of what we do in the hustle and bustle of every day. . life might not notice.

If I had known that this glass of water situation and similar arguments would actually end my marriage, that the existence of love, trust, respect, and security in our marriage depended on these moments, which I dismissed as petty disagreements, I would have done something different. decisions

I could have shared my love and respect with her.NoLeaving her little reminders every day that they didn't consider her. That they were not reminded. That she was not respected. I could have carefully avoided leaving evidence that I would always prefer my feelings and my tastes to hers.

This article has been adapted from Matthew Fray's new book.This is how your marriage ends.

(Video) This is How Relationships End with Matthew Fray | The Mark Groves Podcast


When should you stop trying in a marriage? ›

10 giveaways to stop trying to fix a relationship
  • Ignored needs. As mentioned, we all have needs, but if you can't find a way to reconcile your needs, this could be one of the signs your relationship is beyond repair. ...
  • Secrecy and fear. ...
  • Abuse and trauma. ...
  • You're trying to change your partner. ...
  • No intimacy. ...
  • Emotional disconnect.
Dec 30, 2021

How do you know when your marriage is over? ›

Here are seven signs from experts that a Carmel family law attorney believes mean a marriage might be over.
  1. Lack of Sexual Intimacy. ...
  2. Frequently Feeling Angry with Your Spouse. ...
  3. Dreading Spending Alone-Time Together. ...
  4. Lack of Respect. ...
  5. Lack of Trust. ...
  6. Disliking Your Spouse. ...
  7. Visions of the Future Do Not Include Your Spouse.
Dec 7, 2019

How do you fix a marriage that is falling apart? ›

Here are eight ways to repair your marriage when it's falling apart:
  1. Share each other's joy. ...
  2. Blame the situation, not your spouse. ...
  3. Eliminate the three A's that ruin marriages. ...
  4. Kiss each other more. ...
  5. Let your conflict lead to growth. ...
  6. Know the difference between quality and quantity. ...
  7. Ask yourself why you want to make this work.
Nov 13, 2017

How do you save your marriage when it seems impossible? ›

Check out the following six tips that you can use right now to try and save your marriage.
  1. Work on intimacy. Sure, we all get busy in life. ...
  2. Talk to each other regularly. ...
  3. Enjoy spending time together. ...
  4. Practice forgiveness. ...
  5. Don't be controlling. ...
  6. Consider talk therapy.
Sep 30, 2022

What year of marriage hardest? ›

According to relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you've already lived together. In fact, it often doesn't matter if you've been together for multiple years, the start of married life is still tricky.

At what point do most marriages end? ›

After all, almost 50% of first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. While there are countless divorce studies with conflicting statistics, the data points to two periods during a marriage when divorces are most common: years 1 – 2 and years 5 – 8.

How do you tell if a man is unhappy in his marriage? ›

Here are some signs a guy is unhappy in his relationship:
  1. He spends excessive time on his devices even when he's with his partner. ...
  2. He does not show affection anymore. ...
  3. He doesn't like to spend much time with his partner. ...
  4. He feels sad and depressed with his partner. ...
  5. He prioritizes other people before his partner.
Jul 5, 2022

Who usually ends a marriage? ›

In fact, nearly 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women. This is according to a 2015 research study conducted by the American Sociological Association (ASA) which suggests two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women.

How do you know if your marriage is beyond repair? ›

5 Signs Your Relationship Is Beyond Repair
  1. 1) You keep breaking up and getting back together. ...
  2. 2) You're afraid of your significant other. ...
  3. 3) Your bond or feelings have dissipated. ...
  4. 4) Your relationship is tainted with toxicity. ...
  5. 5) One or both of you aren't willing to make an effort.
Nov 28, 2017

What is the number one thing that destroys a marriage? ›

Using Power and Control. This is by far the most destructive force any human can bring to a marital relationship, and obviously includes the use of physical and sexual abuse or violence.

What is the number one cause of divorce? ›

Lack of commitment is the most common reason given by divorcing couples according to a recent national survey. Here are the reasons given and their percentages: Lack of commitment 73% Argue too much 56%

What are the three things that break up a marriage? ›

Top 3 Reasons Why Couples Break Up
  • They haven't learned how to deal with their differences. In a relationship's honeymoon period, a couple's differences tend to stay in the background. ...
  • They don't pay attention to the relationship anymore. ...
  • They have difficult time influencing their partner.

How do you know if your marriage is worth fighting for? ›

15 signs your marriage is worth saving
  • You're having second thoughts.
  • It all started when you had kids.
  • You still value the sanctity of marriage.
  • You still want to work on your marriage.
  • You can't picture your life without your spouse.
  • Your problems aren't really about your relationship.
  • You still love the person.
Jan 14, 2022

When marriage seems hopeless? ›

If you are to save your marriage when you feel hopeless about it, try taking some time off from the routine. Meet friends, go out in an activity that you love the most, even go for a solo trip. These things will clear your mind and will give you a chance to see things from a distance.

At what age are marriages more successful? ›

Studies have shown that there is a “Goldilocks” zone, between ages 28 and 32, where marriages have the highest chance of success. After 32, the likelihood of your marriage ending in divorce increases by approximately 5% per year.

Which profession has the highest divorce rate? ›

Key findings
  • The type of job with the highest divorce rate is military work. ...
  • Following military workers, those who have a job in health care support have the next highest divorce rate. ...
  • Drilling down to the 100 most common individual occupations, bartenders top the list with a divorce rate of 4.34%.
Mar 28, 2022

What month of marriage has the highest divorce rate? ›

Which Months Do Divorce Filings Peak? Divorce rates peak in March and August. There are a number of reasons these two months see a large increase in divorce and separation. People are less likely to divorce during the winter holidays since these events revolve around time spent with family.

Who initiates divorce more? ›

A study led by the American Sociological Association determined that nearly 70% of divorces are initiated by women. And the percentage of college-educated American women who initiated divorce is even higher.

Why is GREY divorce? ›

Gray (or grey) divorce refers to a divorce involving individuals who are 50 years of age or older. Many high-profile cases, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, have brought attention to the growing number of gray divorces.

Which is the strongest predictor of a marriage ending in divorce? ›

Contempt erodes the bond that holds a couple securely together. It's impossible to build connection when your relationship is deprived of respect. The existence of contempt is the biggest predictor of divorce.

Why do men stay unhappily married? ›

Fear. The threat of physical violence, further emotional abuse, harming your children by depriving them of a nuclear family, and concern about how friends and family will perceive them are commonly-cited reasons why people may choose to stay in an unhappy marriage.

What do men fear most in marriage? ›

The number one fear a man has about marital commitment is change. He fears that you'll suddenly try to change him, like how you've changed his wardrobe, his couch, or even his food. Thing is, men do not like changes.

What makes a man give up on his marriage? ›

Toxic relationships, being used, feeling emotionally spent, or meeting someone new could also contribute to what makes a man leave his wife. A wife left behind may be wondering what happened to her once happy relationship. Going to couples counseling and communicating with her husband may help save the marriage.

Who loses more in a divorce? ›

Usually, it seems as though the woman is the one who gets the better end of the deal. While many men are quick to say that their ex-wives took everything, including the dog—or that is what many country songs lead you to believe, anyway—the truth is that women often fare worse in a divorce.

What are the top 2 causes of divorce? ›

Leading Causes of Divorce in the United States
  • Marital Infidelity. Different couples may respond to marital infidelity in different ways. ...
  • Financial Disagreements. ...
  • Weight Gain. ...
  • Lack of Intimacy. ...
  • Lack of Equality. ...
  • Lack of Preparation. ...
  • Poor Communication. ...
  • Addiction.

How divorce changes a woman? ›

Divorce puts a strain on the financial, social, and emotional relationships of the partners. This time particularly can be devastating for women who may lose confidence, be forced into custody issues, and may lose hope of ever finding happiness again. Some women find it hard to return to their normal self again.

What does rejection look like in a marriage? ›

When your partner rebuffs your advances; avoids your attempts at intimacy; turns away when you try to kiss him or her; is reluctant to have date nights; goes to bed significantly before or after you do; falls asleep on the couch or in the kids' room; drinks too much during a romantic dinner and crawls into bed without ...

What does abandonment look like in marriage? ›

In the context of a marriage, the feelings of neglect, being left out, and not being heard are collectively referred to as emotional abandonment. It occurs when one partner is so preoccupied with their own concerns that they are unable to notice the struggles, concerns, or problems their partner is experiencing.

What makes a relationship irreparable? ›

For many couples, an 'unfixable' relationship isn't necessarily down to a lack of love, but rather a breakdown in communication and hurt pride. Here are several signs that your relationship is no longer repairable: Continuous abuse (verbal, physical, emotional and mental) Constant cheating.

What kills affection in marriage? ›

The biggest thing couples do to kill intimacy in marriage is failing to schedule time for it. Sometimes couples don't recognize the need to build space for intimate moments in their lives. There seems to be an expectation that romance and desire should happen naturally.

What kills intimacy in a relationship? ›

conflict– if there is ongoing conflict in your relationship, it can be difficult to develop intimacy. It is not easy to feel close to someone you are arguing with. Anger, hurt, resentment, lack of trust, or a sense of being unappreciated can all affect intimacy.

What kills marriage most? ›

7 Behaviors That Are Killing Your Marriage
  1. Negative Criticism. ...
  2. Silent Treatment, Withdrawal, and Distancing. ...
  3. Contempt. ...
  4. Nagging. ...
  5. Defensiveness. ...
  6. Refusing to Resolve Issues. ...
  7. Holding to Unrealistic Expectations.
Sep 29, 2016

Is life better after a divorce? ›

While some may be happier after a divorce, research indicates most adults that divorce have lower levels of happiness and more psychological distress compared to married individuals. Divorce can bring up new conflicts between couples that cause more tension than when they were married.

Why do most marriages fail? ›

These items included lack of commitment, infidelity/extra-marital affairs, too much arguing or conflict, substance abuse, domestic violence, economic hardship, lack of support from family members, marrying too young, little or no premarital education, and religious differences.

How long does the average marriage last? ›

What is the average length of marriage? On average, the length of a marriage in the U.S. is seven to eight years. Some states have a higher rate than others, but the divorce rate for the country is around 50%.

What are the three C's in marriage? ›

A strong and healthy relationship is built on the three C's: Communication, Compromise and Commitment.

What are the four pillars of an unhappy marriage? ›

Usually, these four horsemen clip-clop into the heart of a marriage in the following order: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

What are the 7 stages of marriage? ›

In their 2006 book, The 7 Stages of Marriage, marriage therapist DeMaria and co-writer Harrar present the 7 stages as: Passion, Realization, Rebellion, Cooperation, Reunion, Explosion and Completion.

What are top three things married couples fight about? ›

What Are the Most Common Arguments Between Married Couples?
  • Inadequate Attention or Affection.
  • Sex.
  • Jealousy and Infidelity.
  • Chores and Responsibilities.
  • Control and Dominance.
  • Future Plans and Money.
  • What If We're Having the Same Fight Over and Over?
Apr 14, 2021

When should you call it quits marriage? ›

One of the most prominent signs of when to call it quits in a marriage is unwillingness to communicate. No matter how hard you try to engage your partner, it doesn't seem to work. You try the nice voice and the sweet thoughts. You try the yelling and the threatening.

What does an unhealthy marriage look like? ›

When a marriage is unhealthy, issues of control are usually evident. Finances are an easy weapon of control. One partner starts deciding how money is spent and how much the other spouse can spend. Control can also spill over into areas like friendships and outside activities.

What are the signs of depression in marriage? ›

How Can You Recognize When Your Partner Has Depression?
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest.
  • Mood swings.
  • Anxiety.
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns.
  • Changes in appetite and weight.
  • Thoughts about death and suicide.
Oct 30, 2017

Why do I feel so empty in my marriage? ›

Loneliness in a marriage can be caused by a number of different things. Family, work, and stress often play a role, but internal factors such as your own unrealistic expectations and fear of vulnerability can also make it hard to connect with your spouse.

What causes emotional abandonment in a marriage? ›

Causes of Emotional Abandonment

Intentional withholding of communication or affection. External stressors, including the demands of parenting. Conflicting work schedules. Lack of mutual interests and time spent together.

What is walkaway wife syndrome? ›

What Is a Walkaway Wife? Also referred to as the "neglected wife syndrome" and "sudden divorce syndrome," walkaway wife syndrome is "nothing more than a term used to characterize a person who has decided they cannot stay in the marriage any longer," says Joshua Klapow, Ph.

When should you give up on marriage reconciliation? ›

Statistical research shows that the average length of separation before reconciliation is six to eight months. Thus, it is a safe period when the spouses can cool off and decide whether they want to give their marriage another chance or get a divorce.

What are the signs of an unhappy wife? ›

Here, then, are 7 signs a woman is unhappy in her marriage:
  • She stops wanting to have sex. ...
  • She shuts down because she doesn't feel heard. ...
  • She stops taking care of herself. ...
  • She starts talking to male friends instead of her husband. ...
  • She starts drinking more heavily. ...
  • She starts having physical ailments.
Aug 3, 2021

What is the #1 cause of divorce? ›

It is no surprise, then, that marital infidelity is a leading cause of divorce. Just how common is marital infidelity? According to a study from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as many as 25 percent of married men and 15 percent of married women have had extramarital affairs.

What is silent divorce? ›

The primary indicator of an invisible divorce is that even though the couple is legally married, they no longer share emotional or physical intimacy as they did earlier in the relationship. Their lives tend to resemble the relationship between co-workers or roommates, rather than an affectionate and married couple.

What percentage of divorced couples get back together? ›

Did you know that as many as 10% to 15% of all divorced couples will reconcile their relationship according to research?

How do you let go and let God fix your marriage? ›

Here are six ways you can let God heal your marriage.
  1. Pray. The best way to fight any battle is on your knees. ...
  2. Be still. When fighting God's battle with Him, sometimes you can do the most good by being still. ...
  3. Trust God. ...
  4. Face the battle. ...
  5. Let God do the talking. ...
  6. Give thanks.
Jun 8, 2016

What does God say about fighting for your marriage? ›

Constant Conflict – (Ephesians 5:33)

If your marriage is filled with conflict, don't give up. “If your marriage is filled with conflict, don't give up.” This scripture instructs a husband to love his wife as he loves himself and that his wife must respect him. If your marriage is filled with conflict, don't give up.


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