Why Does a Bad Marriage Happen

By with 57 comments

a girl holding broken apart pieces of heart in her hand

A bad marriage is like a bad dream. You dread a bad marriage while in it and sulk once it’s over, though not for long.

You may recover after sometime, and feel a bit relieved if the marriage really was so horrible, but generally bad marriages hurt, and often have the potential to break up a person.

Mostly all marriages begin with a love filled life – romantic days, passionate nights, promises of eternal companionship, and what not.

How could such beautiful starts have ugly ends, with problems that hardly solve, and relationship that never mends?

Where do the things go awry, which faults lead to such disasters, and what mistakes go unaccounted? Is it just a change of mind of a partner or unrealistic expectations that causes all the commotion?

Maintaining a marriage requires two-way processing and mutual co-operation of the spouses. Besides that, the partners should have many qualities to make sure survival and stability of their marriage.

In order to search the answers to our questions, we need to know and understand what an ideal or healthy marriage is, and what makes it bad.

“It had not occurred to me that marriage requires the same effort as a career. And unlike a career, marriage requires a joint effort.” ~ Jessica Savitch

What is a Marriage

In my own words, a marriage is an understanding between two people to live life together by remaining committed and faithful to each other, even if they are distanced by time and space.

It is a relationship that allows the partners to have personal intimacy in terms of sharing their body, mind and emotions, with each other’s permission.

It is an association to help and support each other to successfully run a family by taking up and fulfilling their responsibilities.

It is also a pledge to take care of and respect each other, and a permission to raise a family through social acceptance and legal authorization.

It is a union of two distinct personalities to learn from each other and to help each other grow as individuals, parents, and human beings.

What makes marriage different from a live-in relationship is that marriage is a contract or public declaration of commitment along with a social and legal safety net.

However, in spite of institutionalizing the marriage, there are fall offs and failures leading to bad marriage.

We are not talking about occasional bad times which happen even in healthy marriages, but about the marriages that mostly have bad times and rarely show healthy signs.

Understanding a healthy marriage would give a better idea about a bad marriage, and how to avoid it.

“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.” ~ Martin Luther

What Makes a Healthy Marriage

Not all marriages are bad or unhealthy. Following are the other important constituents that keep the marriage healthy, and which are generally found lacking in bad marriages.

  • Love

The most vital part of a healthy marriage is love.  Love acts as a strong binding agent. It is a reason to be together for all seasons and a force that sheds all differences, and unites individuals to give a feeling of wholeness.

Love in a marriage drives passion and ignites romance, which are like the fuel and engine that power the marriage to its heights.

  • Friendship

Friendship between the spouses also turns out to be a cornerstone of a healthy marriage. The perfect marriage partners are not just spouses but friendly spouses, who are there for each other through thick and thin.

They respect and accept each other for what and who they are, and like to spend more time with each other.

  • Communication

The other essential reason what makes a healthy marriage work is good communication between the partners. Communication helps solve problems easily and quickly, and doesn’t let misunderstanding set in.

Yes, misunderstandings can create a lot of ruckus in a marriage. They give rise to problems and create mountains out of moles. The reality also becomes distorted, when matters could be solved by clarifying issues.

  • Understanding

Understanding the nature of the spouse, his or her ways, likes or dislikes helps in the smooth working of a marriage.

The partners who understand each other choose not to get agitated over trivial matters, or get perturbed about each other’s incidental outbursts. Instead, they try to get to the depth and seek out the reason for the spouse’s actions or behavior.

  • Trust

Trust is the other thread, apart from love, that ties the marriage partners in a relationship. The strong belief that the other person will never harm you nor cheat on you is very self-assuring, relieving, and comforting.

Once this thread is broken by acts including infidelity or adultery, the marriage starts dwindling and hangs in doubt and suspicion. These are the parasites that even eat up love, the only remaining thread to save you from a free fall.

“If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

Why Marriages Turn Bad

The marriage will go bad if care is not taken to imbibe all the above mentioned factors that make a healthy marriage.

The most common cause of a failed marriage is often incompatibility. Though violence, abuse, aggressiveness, and constant fights are also the main reasons that make the marriage go sour.

But sometimes the reasons that make a bad marriage happen are not that clear or obvious.

The problems that concern a spouse about the other could range from the display of insensitivity, annoying habits, behavior of nagging, complaining, constantly blaming, using harsh tones, and arrogance.

The other put-off reasons include always being negative, unapologetic, excessively dominating, cold and unforgiving, hyperactive,  being a perfectionist, uncaring and too selfish.

The relationship in a marriage takes a down turn when there is dullness in it, differences just about anything, perpetual disagreement, an intense dislike for the other, unfulfilled desires, ego clashes, and a failure of the spouse to change.

These issues hurt a partner and cast its shadow on the marriage and are potential signs to look for a marriage going bad.

I agree that people can make efforts to correct the above mentioned problems and that some of them could be irrational reasons, but that is how people are sometimes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what makes a marriage go bad, and many more points can be included by all of you.

 “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Here’s a video where relationship expert Sue Johnson identifies the warning signs in a marriage and what you can do to prevent issues from destroying your relationship.

Warning Signs in a Marriage ~ Sue Johnson ~ You Tube Video

 “When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Why Do We Marry the Wrong Person

If you marry an incompatible person, the chances are that you’ll experience a bad marriage. Is it that because love is blind, people select wrong partners and that makes the marriage turn bad?

Some people get fascinated by the other person’s style that are either temporary or artificially put on. But after marriage they regret their decision when they no longer see those qualities in their partners.

Some people initially choose partners on the basis of physical characteristics, appearances, and sexual needs.

Unfortunately, they realize that they have misunderstood and misjudged each other’s personalities, and conclude that they are a complete mismatch and not fit to spend their lives together.

In some cases it’s the difference in sexual appetite or preferences that crop up later in marriage and that make even the most understanding marriages tumble-down.

When people concentrate only on the superficiality, and fail to look into the inner qualities of a person, they end up marrying the wrong person.

“In marriage do thou be wise: prefer the person before money, virtue before beauty, the mind before the body; then thou hast a wife, a friend, a companion, a second self.” ~ William Penn

How to Avoid a Bad Marriage

You do not plan a bad marriage, it just happens. It is a gradual and slow process.

Bad marriages usually start with small things and issues, which are either ignored or not given proper attention at the time of their origin.

Therefore, one should keep a look out on all the signs of marriage that deviate from normality, even the signs that you think are insignificant.

Don’t take your marriage for granted, it would not grow on its own – your marriage is like a garden plant; if you don’t take care, it will die its natural death.

A marriage requires constant and regular maintenance, service, and efforts to keep it in a good shape. This is quite similar to what you do for your car, failing which only you could be blamed for a breakdown on the highway.

Those who do not practice frequent analysis and assessment of their marriage often get a shock when issues grow monstrous and the marriage goes beyond repair.

Even a small hole in the hull can sink the most stable ship. The partners need to work as a team and carefully sail and steer their marriage-ship to avoid it from sinking.

You might think living together before getting marriage helps in better harmonization and understanding.

Some social reports opine that those who have a live-in relationship before marriage tend to have higher chance of having a bad marriage. But I’m sure you can cite many examples, including some of the celebrities, who defy such popular opinion.

“Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.” ~ Voltaire

A married couple standing back to back in confrontation

Why Bad Marriages are Common

One observation is that divorce has become very common today. Its numbers have steeply risen and its practice has mushroomed in all segments of society.

No doubt staying in a bad marriage can be harmful to health, and one of the ways to save oneself is separation or divorce. Here’s an interesting news report on how health and bad marriage are linked up.

Could it be that getting to know people, including celebrities, abandoning their marriage and going for a divorce, followed up by a quick remarriage, tempts others to follow the trend, despite having a repairable problem at hand?

Could this option keep playing in the subconscious mind? Because if mind knows there’s an option, it will try to use it.

Such a practice is slowly becoming a norm and accepted way in the present generation, and the increasing number of bad marriages and divorces are an area of concern.

Having an easy way out through the option of divorce discourages a person to sincerely work hard to change life, sort out issues, and save the marriage.

“We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner apart, we take separate vacations – we’re doing everything we can to keep our marriage together.” ~ Rodney Dangerfield

I feel the spouses in a relationship need to change themselves with time, and according to the needs of the relationship.

They need to make adjustments with each other, rather than trying to change one another. Marriage is after all a blend of love and adjustment. But people don’t want to waste time in making amends and choose the easier way of divorce.

The ego stands in the way of an eternal relationship as envisioned by lovers in romance prior to, or in the initial phases of marriage.

I also believe that lack of education and information about marriage might create a mirage, as people form a different picture and opinion of what a marriage should be like.

When discrepancy seeps in between their ideal version of marriage and the realistic marriage, they are heartbroken, disappointed, and understand that their marriage has gone bad.

Do you wish to test how strong your marriage is? Here’s a quiz, just for fun. And some more detailed information about why good marriages go bad.

Over to you

Do you think there are failed or bad marriages because people have weak problem-solving skills, underdeveloped interpersonal skills, or highly developed egos?

Do you think bad marriages can be prevented? Do ideal or healthy marriages still exist? Why do you think the marriages go bad? Have you been married, if so, how is/was your experience? Share your views in the comments below.

 

Photo Credits: 123RF Stock Photos , kelsey_lovefusionphoto

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About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

57 Comments

  1. Astro Gremlin
    Twitter:

    August 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Broken marriages are the result of change. Given enough time, as Voltaire suggests, marriage is followed by divorce. It’s important to plan for that eventuality.

    Imagine letting your feelings dictate the terms of a business contract? “We’ll be together forever, and ever, and never have a change of heart or disagreement about anything. Tee hee, love conquers all, silly” is not language you will find in well written business agreement. Yet marriage has binding consequences for the parties, and when the love is gone, the bitterness of a breakup can hurt everyone involved, especially kids.

    People who once loved one another aren’t even friends! Lawyers prey on this sort of blindness and end up taking the family’s resources. Compromise takes lawyers out of the picture. If the relationship can sustain change, it is solid, no matter what happens. All couples should prepare for what others have gone through, so they can stay friends. That’s true love.
    Astro Gremlin recently posted..MachineryMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Glad you could find time to respond to the post.

      Yes, marriage too keeps having change, both positive and negative. Marriage is essentially a very sensitive interpersonal relationship. I would agree with Voltaire if he means that neglect of the signs of a bad marriage for a long time might eventually lead to divorce.

      I honor your views; however, I’ve a bit different views on some. I feel that whenever we undertake any task, we need to have an attitude of optimism with a belief that the task will bear good fruits for us, and that we can accomplish it if we without any doubts give our best to it, and believe in ourselves. We begin with a ‘failure is not an option’ attitude, and concentrate only on the positive outcomes.

      Similar is the task of marriage. You cannot begin with a negative option of divorce in mind. I do not find the need to plan for such an eventuality; instead I feel it’s better to spend that time and energy on strengthening the factors that make a healthy marriage. But I see that you mean to have a ‘plan B’ option ready so that you can handle such a situation properly and do not end in a shock and suffer, when that happens.

      Marriage to me has a higher status than a business contract; it is the one in which the transactions involve more of giving than receiving, among other factors. Love and emotions are the soul of a marriage, and understanding its backbone.

      I believe when you’re so attuned to each other in a marriage, small disagreements do not lead to drastic negative implications, and you never think of having a change of partner.

      What is important is to accept that being in love does not mean having no arguments ever – instead you need to be prepared for that and develop the skills to resolve such issues in time, and constantly keep working to maintain love.

      But I agree that in the case when the partners are unable to cooperate, have basic essential agreements, and the love disappears, its the children who are hurt the most in the breakup.

      You’ve correctly pointed out that “relationships need to sustain change.” If both partners stay firm with the affirmation that no matter what the change, we’ll be there for each other – nothing can make them fall apart. Ah, that’s being an idealist, isn’t it? Some events in a marriage are so strong that come like a typhoon, catch you unawares, leave you blinded, uproot your foundations, and you’re not able to understand what happened when and how! And before you come to senses, the damage is already done.

      I agree with you in the sense that we need to know why bad marriages happen, so we’re better prepared and together do things only which makes a marriage healthy.

      Thanks for stopping by and providing great food for thought and reasons to go deep into the issue of bad marriages.

  2. Sylviane Nuccio
    Twitter:

    August 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    That’s a great one Harleena,

    I’ve seen close and personal what a good marriage is and it’s beautiful, and I’ve been in a marriage and it’s pretty ugly. First of all, if a marriage starts off with a lie, there is not much hope for it. Lot’s of people don’t think about that, but a lot of marriages starts with a lie.

    I agree with that marriage counselor on the video, it’s not so much about fighting as it is the distance building between the two spouses. I think that it’s a real killer.

    There is also the fact that beside people sometimes people marry based on a lie “such as saying they love the person, but don’t, etc..”. There is the fact that some people have deep down emotional issue “subconscious problems” and they keep attracting Mr. or Mrs. wrong or wrong for them, anyway.

    Marriage is not easy and it takes a lot of consideration when one enters such life long adventure.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Are You Afraid Of Letting Go? Or How To Trust The Process Of Deliberate CreationMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Glad that you like the post, Sylviane.

      The best teachings are that come with experience. You’ve pointed out to one aspect that we often ignore. Sometimes people say that they love just for the heck of saying it because it is a norm to say it. Whether they mean it or not is revealed in the times of difficulty.

      On the other hand, you could impact your psyche and condition yourself into really believing and beginning to love if you keep saying and affirming that you love. So, that’s the positive side and interpretation. However, I agree that lies weaken the strength of marriage, and if the foundation laid is itself built of lies, then it becomes a herculean task to keep the building of love intact. Not every building is as lucky as the leaning tower of Pisa, saying metaphorically!

      Yes, its true that its not the physical distances that matter in a marriage if there is strong mental and emotional closeness and binding. But once distance gets build up mentally and emotionally between the two spouses, even the physical proximity or indulgence cannot help much.

      The subconscious element that you talk about it very important and it is what really drives a person in the background. That’s like the autopilot when you do not make your efforts with all heart. And even the law of attraction says, if you think negative, you attract negative.

      Ah, there you revealed it – marriage is a life long adventure. This is a message for all the about-to-get-married people that you can enjoy this adventure and avoid making your marriage bad if you make all the considerations and preparations beforehand.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and for adding more value to the post.

  3. Punam
    Twitter:

    August 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Dear Harleena,

    Let me now applaud you for a wonderful article. :) I loved reading through it, and happen to believe that you have covered most areas of problems, except one.
    And that, I would like to add, is the WILL to salvage the relationship.

    End of day, the couple decides to part because one of them or both, are not willing to work for nurturing the relationship/marriage any more. Which means even if they are together, it might be a dead plant that they are watering.

    Many couples do stay together like that for good of their kids/families.. but such marriages rob the couple of their intrinsic rights to happiness. And what is a life led like that, lived?

    Divorce rates are high, partly because the couples are choosing their happiness. Here, I would like to believe that either of them are mature enough to have put in all efforts.

    Somehow, whenever I see a couple fighting, I would want to believe that they are working in nurturing the relationship – fights being a part of it, provided, it is understood that the marriage is a sacred being not to be touched by any of the fights – this has to be intrinsic.

    If the couple is mature enough to understand that bringing the marriage into every small/big fight – is not permissible.. and that the marriage shud be held above all, so taht everything else stays petty, THEN that is how a marriage can be stable.

    Darren Hardy, author of Success magazine, once said in his blog that the “relationship” is the third person in a couple’s life and this person needs to be loved, nurtured and preserved with utmost devotion… even if the two of them are fighting every day…. :)

    It’s the perspective – how one regards his marriage that matters.

    Take care,
    Punam
    Punam recently posted..Happy Birthday Corinne!!My Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Dear Punam, First of all let me thank you for commenting. And wow, it’s a lengthy comment, and that’s really the aha-now way! I love that you’re getting the hang of my blog :)

      I’m glad you like the post. And by no means was it meant to be a comprehensive-covering-all-issues post. It could never be because since it is really a very subjective issue; there can be umpteen factors and issue about why bad marriages happen. In fact, as the post was getting very lengthy, I deleted a chunk of reasons and signs of bad marriage that nearly amounted to 800 words – would you believe that!

      You mention about the ‘will’ to salvage the relationship, which I think comes after one is unsuccessful trying all the methods, factors, strategies, and tricks to uphold the marriage. I did mention one of the factors that lead to bad marriage is the strong opposition to change – change the stand, habits, and views of one or both the spouses.

      Marriage does require a mutual cooperation in order to work properly – even there’s a local saying that marriage is a two-wheeled vehicle, so even if one gets bad the marriage suffers. And you’re right, if the plant is dead then there’s no use watering it. But this decision should be taken only after you seek an external help and objectively assess that there’s no way to resurrect that plant in anyway.

      I feel staying together for children’s sake is sensible unless the marriage is too violent and too bad in a condition to continue. But again it depends on different situations and people involved; there cannot be a universal rule to it. However, one fact is evident that separations and divorces generally have a negative impact on children, and the parents, who brought them into the world, bear a moral responsibility to put and think of them first.

      Parents themselves do have the intrinsic rights to happiness, and if leading a separate life or a life in a new relationship is accepted and not detrimental to their children’s life, then there’s no issue why it could not be done so.

      I’ve seen and heard of people who blame their parents’ divorce when they were children, for their negative state of mind and life. And this really is a serious issue – there’s often a distortion of personality and deep negative impact in the psyche of children borne out of divorced parents. And this pattern is continued and carried forward in their genes, though not really always.

      Children impact by divorce of their parents often resort to violence and have a difficult time handling and managing their emotions. There are organizations worldwide whose main objective is to reduce the number of divorces and lessen its negative impact. But if the married couple has no children, then it’s a different story.

      I really like your view of marriage, if you intrinsically consider it sacred, it will never turn sour. Your formula for a stable marriage is perfect. I add that people should really be old enough and mature when they get married, that helps the spouses have better perspective of marriage and life, and this might really lessen the high rate of divorces.

      I like the concept of relationship as the third person – thanks Darren Hardy if you’re reading this!

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and taking part in the discussion to help those in bad marriages.

  4. Hiten
    Twitter:

    August 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Wonderful post!

    As someone who is trying out the whole Indian arranged marriage thing at the moment, this post was very relevant and included some great examples of the proper reasons to get married, and watch out for the signs that the marriage isn’t working.

    What you wrote reminded me of a quote by a character called Raquel from Only Fools and Horses (a major UK comedy series) about marriage. Raquel says something along the lines of marriage not being like a bed of roses as it seems at the start. She says it comes in kit form and needs to be worked on.

    I found the point in your post about celebrities getting divorced. This seems very common between famous couples. Why do you reckon this is? I think many of the reasons for this, you have included in your post such as not really being compatible in the first place.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Glad that you could relate to and find my post useful!

      Ah, arranged marriage! There’s a lot of surprise element in an arranged marriage; a lot of discovering takes place for years that keeps the marriage interesting, love gets seeded at the time of marriage and grows over the years blooming from a bud to a full blown rose. However, apart from the pros, it has its cons too.

      It won’t be a fallacy to consider a marriage like a bed of “rose stems,” as beneath the soft and beautiful petals lie the dreadful hurting thorns. If you want to enjoy your marriage, you’ve to together work on to remove the thorns. The idea of marriage coming in a kit form and needed to be assembled is splendid.

      I feel that its difficult for the celebrity couples to maintain a marriage. The reasons being they hardly get to be each other, its difficult for them to share their lives whenever they want to, they’ve too many of temptation to beat, and most develop difference due to ego problems or sharp disagreements in matters of the way of living their lives.

      If you develop such an extreme sense of individuality, freewill, and freedom that you find it difficult to compromise with your partner, your marriage runs into trouble. Understanding is the very basic of any relationship to work that would include adjustment, compromise, and sacrifice.

      People do need bit of compatibility in terms of similarity in likes and dislikes, views and opinions, and their philosophy of life. Even if you’re not 100% compatible, it doesn’t matter as being different in some ways keeps the spouses interested in knowing each other.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to have you over.

  5. Lisa
    Twitter:

    August 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I love the quote by Jessica Savitch – my husband refuses to travel with me so I go with relatives or friends. I don’t want to resent it later that I never traveled. That would not be good for either of us.

    I don’t know exactly what makes a marriage good – sometimes I think it’s like a secret sauce recipe. Sometimes I think people are attracted to the wrong type of person for them and that’s why they keep making the same mistakes. I believe love is truly a mystery.
    Lisa recently posted..Blog Giveaway to Celebrate a Year of Inspire To ThriveMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Glad you took out time to read the post.

      Your chosen quote conveys a very important message and reminder that it’s easy to get married, but difficult to make the marriage successful.

      How hard do we want to excel in our careers, how meticulously we plan for it, and how dedicatedly we work to make it a success? If both the marriage partners work on their marriage with the same passion, enthusiasm, and hard work, their marriage will have the least chances of getting bad.

      Some degree of incompatibility in terms of likes and dislikes do not harm as far as love and understanding remain intact in a relationship. I’m sure you and your husband have a good understanding with regards to the travels that you love.

      I personally think a good marriage has no secret recipe. The ingredients are nearly what I laid down in the post, and its just the proportions that vary from people to people, and needs to be tried out to know the working formula.

      Love is like life, a mystery, and that’s what makes it so beautiful and interesting. The more you discover them, the more you understand them and learn their secret way of working.

      Thanks for stopping by, and sharing your thoughts.

  6. Cathy
    Twitter:

    August 12, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Enjoyed this post and so relevant. I’ve experienced both, the wonderful marriage that works, and the marriage that fell apart. I can completely relate to the video about the distancing that occurs and not feeling emotionally safe.

    One of the issues is marrying for the right reasons, and being mature enough to make that important choice. In my study of addiction, I have learned that the brain does not completely develop until a person is about 25. So many, myself included married before that age, and were probably not truly ready to make that kind of commitment. Of course there are many who married young and have happy marriages, but overall it is better to wait until you are a little older.

    I am happy to see this trend with my children and my friend’s children. They seem to be marrying in their late twenties or thirties. I hope that they have a better chance of choosing well and having a lasting marriage by waiting a little longer.

    Thanks for sharing such an in depth discussion of this important topic.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Glad you liked the post and found it relevant, Cathy.

      I’d value your suggestions that come through rich experience. Sylvian too resonated with the video that talked about distancing. And I replied that only a physical bond will not be able to hold a marriage together in which the spouses have distanced themselves emotionally and mentally.

      You’ve added an important point about emotional security. Not only women, but men too have a need to be loved and be emotionally pampered. Emotional bond goes a long way, and it’s the most important support for the spouses in the later years of life.

      That’s an enlightening fact you stated about the brain. I agree that emotional maturity helps one to make the right choices, and play one’s role as required in a marriage. But I also believe that growing older is not guarantee of growing up, and that maturity comes with experience and exposure. I’ve seen many people who prove that saying true.

      However, I agree it’s better to be of the age to understand about commitment and the intricacies of marriage, before getting married.

      Thanks for stopping by and providing valuable input to the post.

  7. MELISASource
    Twitter:

    August 12, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I love this one Harleena! I especially agree with the fact about understanding in a marriage. Spouses should be able to understand how much each other can bear emotionally. I think that is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good marriage. Thanks so much for sharing!
    MELISASource recently posted..A Friday of Phrases: Quotes of Motivation and InspirationMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Welcome to the blog, Melisa.

      I’m glad you like the post and could relate to it.

      You’re absolutely right that understanding is the most important factor in a marriage, apart from love. Physical, mental, and emotional differences do not matter much if the spouses understand and love each other.

      Thanks for stopping by, a pleasure to have you over.

  8. Hajra
    Twitter:

    August 12, 2012 at 3:33 am

    There are just so many factors and dynamics that go behind a bad marriage. I think you covered it really well. Just as there are many factors, the solution is multi-fold and probably subjective to the kind of problem a couple is going through. I have seen some bad marriages during my time with clients and I have to say, the problem actually becomes a huge mess when people tend to fight it out rather than talk it out. Sometimes, it does get ugly and a fight or an argument is natural and is bound to follow. But what remains to be understood that after all that, one has to come out of a solution.

    However, sometimes the marriage does become very sore is damaged beyond repair. And that is when the biggest decision needs to be made. One must always attend to the earliest signs of a troubled marriage. If the relationship is running into problems then start acknowledging them and working it out rather than wait for it to become a huge mess and then figure out what now.

    Stop taking your partner for granted and give them the space to make individual as well as joint decisions. And yes, like any other relationship, there are a lot of factors that go into a marriage, try working on what’s best for you and what’s not.

    A very enlightening discussion here! There is so much that can be said about this!

    Hope you have a lovely week ahead Harleena!

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the discussion at this post, Hajra.

      I agree there’s a lot that can be said and written about why bad marriages happen, and this post isn’t comprehensive, but I tried my best considering the limitations of length.

      This sure is a subjective issue as you point out, and what we can provide are general guidelines for the sake of creating awareness.

      I’m sure your profession allows you to study cases of bad marriage and learn from them. I definitely agree that one should deal with the problems at the earliest onset of their signs, and for that one must have complete awareness of them. If you let the monster grow, it will probably go out of bounds.

      These two are good tips you give – stop taking your partner for granted and giving them space.

      I read Punam and Sylviane’s comments, and they too talked about the fights that happen in the marriage, which they feel are okay as far as the spouse’s do not distance themselves because of it. Small fights are better than no fights, and talks are any day better than any fights.

      The fights and bickering creative a tense and negative atmosphere. If the spouses do not compromise in some way or the other, the fights do get ugly, and sometimes the relationship gets sacrificed, just as if a life is put to an end.

      I can think of a 3Cs formula – Commitment, Compromise, Care. Follow this mantra, and you salvage your marriage from getting burned. What do you think?!

      Thanks for stopping by and participating in the discussion. Have a great time!

      • Hajra
        Twitter:

        August 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

        The 3c’s are indeed very helpful. But the fact is that people need to take care from day one. Once you start taking any relationship for granted then the problem arises. You have to be careful and recognize what your partner is uncomfortable with.

        • Harleena Singh
          Twitter:

          August 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

          Now this is something good churned out of our discussion.

          If both partners from day one try to know what makes each other uncomfortable, and then make efforts to make each other comfortable, they end up feeling good about each other. Voila! That’s a trick to avoid a bad marriage.

          I know it isn’t this simple. Understanding each other is the trickiest and most important part in a relationship. I hope you agree.

  9. dadblunders
    Twitter:

    August 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Harleena,

    I have been married for 17 years come November. We lived in “sin” (the horrors) for 4 of them before that, and have been together for a total of 22 years. So I can say we defy the trend of people that have bad marriages that previously lived together.

    First, I saw this a lot as a social worker so I am to know this is a fact. People marry what they know. If their father was an abuser, they are so much more likely to marry one. If their mother was drunk, they are so much more likely to marry one. I believe it the biggest reason bad marriages happen – people marry what they know and patterns repeat over and over. It isn’t until someone in the family decides to break the pattern that things change. It can happen, it does happen but it doesn’t happen as often as it should.

    Another reason bad marriages happen. Lack of communication skills. I could even add this goes back to what I previously stated. If your parents never talked to each other….guess what???? You are much less likely to have the communication skills to know how to do the same. We teach our children through our own behaviors and reactions.

    I won’t go as far as to blame everything on your parents because that would be idiotic. Truth is we have to take our own responsibility and decide we don’t want to be like that. We want better for ourselves and our children. We can and will make a difference in our lives. Once we make that leap, that faith, all we have to do is believe it, live it. Yes, we are going to make mistakes but every time we do, we get up and keep trying. We never give up. Just my opinion.

    Aaron

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      I’m glad you commented, Aaron!

      You’ve talked about “patterns” and “people marrying what they know.” How true it is really. Of course, there are exceptions to it. But in general, consciously or subconsciously, children learn from their parents, tend to be like them, and attract a partner with the similar pattern. I think this pattern gets fit into the psyche of children when young, and gets difficult to break. But some defy, and do break out.

      I believe, since the cure is difficult, it’s wise to adopt prevention. If parents become aware of the consequences of their ways, take up responsibility, and learn the better ways to lead a married life knowing what not to do, their children would too try that, which could help reduce the occurrences of bad marriages.

      I agree. It’s not only the parents; it’s the company of people, circumstances, and other factors that also influence our patterns. Even if we can’t undo or control what our parents do and the environment does, we can at least make efforts to create our own life of a new and better pattern by not repeating the mistakes. There’s always hope, and those who believe in it and make efforts, can change for the better and not suffer.

      Your marriage worked because you probably adopted the right ways from the beginning, or kept believing in changing, so you prove that it’s not the popular trends but your “commitment” and the “will” that works in a relationship. Right?

      Thanks for giving the light of hope and the dose of motivation to those who are still the slaves of their patterns, if I can use that phrase. :)

  10. Anne
    Twitter:

    August 13, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I actually think that because people plan for the eventuality of divorces, there are so many divorces. I asked one bride-to-be a week before her wedding what her plans were for staying together. She told me they were going to try it out and can always divorce if it didn’t work out.

    Going into a marriage with this idea is a let down. Too many people ‘try it out’ rather than ‘plan to make it work’. I’m not saying that everyone who plans to work it through actually gets to do that. However, I feel that the attitude of a let-out clause (divorce) is why so many marriages fail.

    Respect and trust are key elements in a working marriage.
    Anne recently posted..Is He Your Fun Guy Or Fungi?My Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      You’ve pointed out one common mistake people make, Anne!

      Some people keep a plan B ready, as I mentioned in an earlier comment also, they keep an option of divorce in mind when they marry, and have an attitude of trying it out, as you mention. I’m sure if you and I have noticed this mistake, many others would’ve too.

      I think most young people want fast solutions in this fast world. It’s about having an easy way out, where you do not have to make any hard initial efforts, try to adjust, or even understand each other. I believe bearing such an attitude, you cannot give your 100%, and any task where you do not give your best, has the probability to fail.

      The popular belief is: “If the equation doesn’t work out with one, then there are many other options.” You may always find somebody who’s better in some or the other aspect, but if you haven’t got the attitude of accepting and adjusting, the basics of understanding, then you won’t fit in anywhere. Extreme and authentic cases are, of course, exceptions.

      Marriages have become like a commodity – use and try it, throw it if you do not like it. If such is the attitude, then the cases of bad marriages will keep on increasing.

      Thanks for making this vital contribution to the post. :)

  11. Claire
    Twitter:

    August 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Both I and my step-daughter are the “results” of very bad marriages, but we are very grateful to our parents! I always say that if a child resulted from a “bad” marriage, it was not a mistake.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      You’ve brought light on some missing perspective, Claire!

      Most marriages aren’t planned to be bad. They’ve their good days, and children are the proof of their love. Later when bad things happen, the marriage gets the stamp of a bad marriage. Everybody forgets the good old days, even the marriage partners.

      However, I even know of cases where in spite of knowing that the marriage has the chances of turning bad, partners try to bring in a child hoping it will change their fate. Children see their parents and not their parents’ marriage (of course, the marriage affects them). Sometimes, children take sides with one parent and develop ill feelings for the other, depending on what they see, assess, or what information is fed to them.

      You and your step-daughter are probably grateful to your parents for being “parents,” as for you both the marriage is a personal matter between your parents. Its love which brought you in the world and loving you ought to be to the parents. Isn’t it?

      Thanks for giving a reason to think anew about marriage. :)

  12. Vidya Sury

    August 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Happy interaction between two individuals can be founded only if there is free communication. If ego comes in the way of making things work, it is a sure way to go down the drain. And people, unless they want to, will not make anything work! It is sad that sometimes two wonderful people end up splitting.

    Two friends. They met, fell in love, got married. Everything seemed great. Two years later, they’ve separated because neither of them was ready to see the other’s point of view in certain things. She moved to a different city hoping he would come after her. He did not. End of story.

    Another friend, fell in love, got married. They split after two years. They missed each other. One year later, they agreed to meet again. They took it slow this time and – another six months later, they remarried and are very happy now. They were both willing to make the effort.

    Ah, but in any relationship, there must be the desire to keep it going. And it all becomes so very sad if children are in the picture. On the other hand, staying together just for the children and not being real parents is equally saddening.

    Nice article, as always, Harleena! Love, Vidya

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Glad you liked the post Vidya!

      Interesting case studies you’ve mentioned here. The contrasting stories show how people use or misuse opportunities, and the factors that affected their marriages were “communication”, “ego”, and “passion.”

      Communication helps navigate the marriage to a safe highway of happiness, whereas, passion fuels the marriage to help it stay on top of various obstacles on the way. It’s the ego that acts as the spoiler or evil and corrupts one or both the partners, resulting in a bad marriage.

      There are various forms of love. Most marriages are based on the love that requires a base of understanding. Understanding requires the qualities of acceptance, adjustment, and accommodation, and the tools of empathy and sympathy. A lack of mutual cooperation destroys love and the marriage falls apart.

      As evident from the cases you describe, both partners need to be willing to make the efforts. Else, the marriage doesn’t make sense. But when it comes to children, I’ve conveyed my views in reply to Punam. Any solution is agreeable which is in the best interest of the children.

      Thanks for your important input; it helps to understand the post. :)

  13. Jodi Heal Now and Forever
    Twitter:

    August 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I see marriage breaking up often start from insecurity or misunderstandings. We deal with these all sorts of ways. The other person doesn’t know this is what is going on (misunderstanding themselves) and feels offended. It snowballs from there.
    Love,
    Jodi

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      You’ve hit the problem at its roots, Jodi!

      Indeed “misunderstanding” is the fundamental problem in a bad marriage. And you highlight another potential issue of “insecurity.” I’ve heard stories of how insecurity forces people to doubt, suspect, and make fallacious assumptions that are detrimental to the marriage.

      Thanks for contributing to the post. :)

  14. Nilesh Srivastava

    August 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Harleena, 1st of all I want to appreciate the way of your writing. You did a superb job and I would appreciate that. From my point of view, marriage should be done with proper and mutual understanding between both men and women, which is very important to make good marriage and a happy family.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for liking and appreciating the post Nilesh!

      You’ve struck gold with just one sentence. Surely “proper and mutual understanding” will take the marriage a long way, and create happiness in the family.

      Thanks for stopping by, and making the comment. :)

  15. Praveen Rajarao
    Twitter:

    August 14, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Wow..you have laid out so many factors which actually seem to affect a marriage. Until recently I was feeling good that we do not have much divorces in India, but that seem to have changed now. It is increasing in numbers atleast in the urban metros, and the reason behind this is bad influence of various cultures.

    Marriage should be treated as a holy bond between two people and the vows we take up during the time should be given some respect. If one is unsure of how well their life is gonna be they should simply not get into marriage, but once tied the knot, I would surely stay put and endure all (if any) difficulties and keep the marriage alive.

    This topic calls for many thoughts which can be mis-read by others, so i will keep them to myself and say that I am one lucky person to be brought up with our cultural values to never break the bond.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Glad to know that you resonate with the post Praveen!

      Yes, there are many factors that lead to a bad marriage, but plenty still haven’t been mentioned in the post. The reasons and causes of bad marriage may also vary from different cultures to religions. India is surely no longer unaffected by the increasing trend of divorce, as you mention.

      Cultures do influence people; however, I wouldn’t put bad marriages and divorces as part of any culture. I’m sure all cultures are troubled by these unfortunate developments, which definitely have become a trend nowadays.

      It rather depends on the individuals and how they have been raised, what values they’ve acquired in life, and the attitudes they develop that make up for the state of their marriages, and I feel we can’t blame it on anything else.

      Well, that’s my view. But I honor your views on marriage and your cultural values which treat marriage as a holy bond, which is never to be broken. I agree that the marriage vows need to be respected and implemented, and 100% efforts should be made to resolve problems, if any, assuming that there’s no other way out.

      Thanks for expressing your personal views and enriching the post with your valuistic thoughts. :)

  16. Mayura
    Twitter:

    August 14, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Am I on a off-topic? ;) Nowps… Lately, my girlfriend and I were discussing about our marriage, how to prepare, what will happen after marriage and when we get old. So this one is an interesting topic for me :) Nice post about marriage and you have got my attention on it dear ;)

    Really I don’t have an idea about marriage and how hard or easy it is. I’m not married and how do I? ;) But I don’t need to feel that marriage is something different from our love. I mean I don’t wanna see big difference in our lives, before and after marriage.

    I have expectations for my life with marriage like working at home, care for them all, be a good father and husband etc. The facts those helpful for a healthy marriage are helpful to build a healthy relationships always. Isn’t it true Harleena? :) ‘Cause I know how they helps our love to make it special everyday.

    Fortunately I haven’t seen breaking up or divorcing here much though I heard from different places in our country. Still marriage has its value and divorcing is highly discouraged here. You know how Asian countries do, right? :) But it happens.

    News such as – a blind guy marries a girl, a man take care of his children after his spouse died without marrying another, a wife does a job and care his husband who has a cancer alone etc. always inspiring me and changing the view of marriage. How brave and loyal they are. They are not millionaires or billionaires and some are not educated much. I believe power of love and trust because of them.

    One thing I’m experiencing now is, our parents pushing on the marriage. Right after the studies, they wanna see children get married. I know it’s their wish, but pushing it like that could be risky. Things can get worse that way. Isn’t it dear?

    At last, I think if people really care about marriages and understand what’s behind it, they won’t go through hard situations like divorces much. If they just be open to each other, they can find secret of healthy marriage or love. Marriage is not like entering into heaven or hell. Good and bad things can happen. But hubby and wify are the ones who can make it a hell or heaven after all.

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted..What Do You Know About Facebook Chat?My Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      This post is also for the bachelors, or in fact, especially for them, so they learn not to make mistakes, and follow the right path the right way. I’m of the view that all young unmarried people should know what makes a good or bad marriage, so you’re definitely on a relevant topic, Mayura!

      Marriage is easy, but people make it difficult. It’s just like any other relationship, except it gets touchier, sensitive, delicate, and requires good interpersonal skills to make it work, among other things.

      Love is the base of a marriage; however, complications arise when circumstances present different types of problems, and there’s lack of consensus on how to resolve them. Increasing differences of opinions and views create a gap, which can only be bridged with communication.

      Marriage has to be a healthy, loving, and friendly relationship. If you’re able to take care of all of these aspects, I’m sure you’ll be able to achieve all that you plan for.

      Lot has been talked about divorce, its reasons and implications in few of the earlier comments. It happens in India too, and it’s not always bad to happen. If the outcome is good for all, then how could it be bad – that’s one point of view!

      There have been incredible cases and stories of marriages that beat all odds, surpass all difficulties, and preserve the spirit of marriages despite physical incompetencies. As you rightly mention, it is because of love and trust, along with understanding and passion, which are all not necessarily the domain of or guaranteed for the rich.

      In certain cultures, the parents fear that their children would get attracted to worldly charms and temptations, which would make them addicted to preferring pleasure to love, and get unstable in life. So before the children stray, parents wish to bind them to marriage.

      Forceful marriages and pressure tactics are not good, I agree. An independent, willful, and wise decision to marry is the way to go, respecting the parents and the cultural norms as far as possible.

      I’d like to add that even complete knowledge and information about marriage can’t help one until it is properly implemented.

      Good and bad things do happen, what matters is how you react to them. If the spouses are able to keep the ego at bay, I’d say the marriage has the probability to become a heaven, as you refer to it.

      Thanks for expressing your views and thoughts, which would help the readers understand marriage better. :)

  17. Adrienne
    Twitter:

    August 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Hey Harleena,

    Wow, I’m not really sure how to respond to this one. I’ve seen good marriage, I’ve seen okay marriages and I’ve seen and been in a bad marriage.

    Although a lot of what you say here in your post which forms a good marriage is true, I believe that sometimes people just change. Over time things happen, events take place and we just aren’t the same people as we once were. Maybe we want different things or we just become more lax. Whatever the case, I don’t necessarily believe that all marriages that have failed have been because of terrible reasons.

    Now in my case, and I can only speak from my own experience, I should have never married him. Although my friends and family did not share their concerns with me, I actually tried to stop the wedding from happening. I was ready to walk down the isle and I had been given signs the entire day as to why I shouldn’t go through with it. I actually sat down and refused to go down the isle but my best friend’s Mom and my Dad convinced me it was the best thing. I wish I hadn’t listened to them but then again, I would have never had the experience I did with my step-son. So although the marriage didn’t even last two years, I had the chance to get to know him so I guess what I had to go through was worth it.

    I just don’t wish that experience on anyone.

    Thanks for yet another powerful post Harleena.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Are You Making These Social Media MistakesMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Glad you liked the post Adrienne!

      I believe you should pay attention to all the signs, listen to your instincts, and let be guided by your intuition, whenever you make a big decision, like marriage. You did that, however, you did what you thought best at the time, to listen to your elders, which too is helpful at such crucial times.

      But then you’re glad you did, as you got something beautiful out of it, like the time with your step-son. So, it was not all in vain. I’d say you’re destined to meet and have your step-son in your life, which often makes us wonder that all events that happen are may be not by chance. Sometimes we are compelled to do a thing, by circumstances or other factors, even if we do not want to, only to later understand that it benefited you in some or the other way.

      I agree when you say that people change with time. Their priorities change and goals drift apart. And people, whose relationships are based on these factors, also find their separate ways. You’re right that not all bad marriages happen because of terrible reasons, but if that becomes a trend, and negatively impacts children, it becomes a matter of concern.

      Thanks so much for sharing your personal story and who knows somebody somewhere might just benefit from it. :)

  18. Debbie
    Twitter:

    August 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I like what you have to say about marriage and do agree with why it can work and why it does not work. Marriage does take love, but before you love someone you have to like them.

    When I say like I mean Like who they are and what they stand for. When going into a relationship you have to like them and be friends first. This way you have sold ground to build that relationship on.

    To me the reason that there are so many failed marriages, is because people get married for the wrong reasons. They just want to be loved and maybe all their friends are getting married. It is the thing to do. Maybe they just had a relationship break up and they are trying to forget, so they jump into a new relationship before they firgure out why the other relationship did not work.

    Marriage does not work if you don’t love yourself first. If you don’t have that self love, how do you expect someone else to love you. Sooner or later you will drive the person away from you for one reason or another if you don’t love yourself.

    One other thing besides, love, trust and communication a marriage needs is to appreciate each other and let each other know how much you appreciate their role in the marriage. Whether it is to bring in the money or running the house hold. It is a partnership and each persob needs to know that they are appreciated for what they are contributing to the relationship. This is very important.

    And never go into a marriage thinking you can change the other person. Each other have to be accepted for who they are.

    Thank you Harleena and blessings to you,
    debbie

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Glad you like the post Debbie!

      You’re absolutely correct when you say that in a marriage the spouses should be “good friends and like each other,” totally “accepting each other” in aspects of who and what they are.

      And you’ve also mentioned the prerequisite for any kind of relationship; you’ve to “like yourself” so that others like you. How important it is. If we learn to appreciate and accept ourselves, we’d be able to do so to others too.

      One most important aspect you highlighted is the understanding that each spouse in a marriage has a role to play, and it is important in itself. Many a times, partners fight over who contributes more to make the marriage work, or whose contribution is more important. Such confrontations cause bitterness among the spouses and the unequal treatment creates a divide between them.

      I believe change happens only when a person allows that to happen, or works on it by own will. Nobody and nothing can force a person to change. Change is a choice a person makes when they feel like to. Love often has the force to change; a person sometimes gladly accepts that.

      I think people marry the wrong person because sometimes they do not go to the depths and just make a choice superficially. Sometimes people marry the right person for the right reason, but the person or the reason changes with time, and who is then to be blamed for that. Rest of the factors you mentioned are really some of the reasons why bad marriages happen.

      Thanks for this valuable contribution to the post; it adds so many aspects and factors that are good to know. :)

  19. ntathu allen
    Twitter:

    August 16, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Communication, being open and honest, and feeling safe are some of the ingredients needed for a happy and healthy marriage. Any relationship that you value takes a commitment to caring for and making sure the other person feels cared about..is an ongoing journey. And although I am divorced, marriage, when it works..is a great way to live. Thoughtful post. thx
    ntathu allen recently posted..Yoga Poetry – I BreatheMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Great tips for a marriage to work, Ntathu!

      Security. Honesty. Transparency. Interactivity. You mentioned some good factors to include in a marriage to make it healthy and happy. And no relationships work without the personal qualities of understanding, caring attitude, and love. These suggestions and advices coming from you and your experiences in life are of great value.

      Thanks you for contributing your ideas to the post. :)

  20. Ilka Flood
    Twitter:

    August 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Very good article! I best love your definition of marriage. It hits all the key points.

    I believe the reason why divorce rates have shot up is, because these days people don’t try hard enough anymore. Just look at some of the celebrities who got divorced within days or months of marriage. What’s up with that?

    It always takes some getting used to in the beginning. There may be a lot of fights while partners are getting used to living with each other. Marriage is very different from dating. I see it as “reality setting in” after the honeymoon’s been over. Then there may be disagreements raising the kids. All that will cause friction, but is no reason to call it quits.

    I believe, people should take “until death do us part” a little more to heart. Unless there is physical or verbal abuse there is always a way to talk things out and adjust here or there ….IF…. you did marry the person because you really love them.

    Just my thoughts :)

    All the best,

    Ilka

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Glad you liked the post Ilka!

      You know I just scribbled the definition as per my thoughts, and my own assessment. I think more could be added on to it.

      I agree with you on the fact that people “don’t try hard” to make a marriage work, though we can’t generalize this conclusion. There are people who even after trying hard succumb to bad marriages. Something goes wrong somewhere, or there’s total lack of cooperation from the other partner that dampens the effect of all efforts made.

      Do the celebrities do it as part of their publicity stunts? Even if not, I feel their lives are too messy to handle, full of temptations, too much changes, and adulterated with ego.

      You’ve mentioned some of the “frictions” that take place in a marriage, and the real start begins after the honeymoon. Most people are caught unawares during the initial jolts and jerks, and are unable to understand or react to what’s happening, and call it quits. Do you think people should be taught about the what’s, why’s, and how’s of a marriage before they get married, so they do not end up in a shocked and broken state?

      You echo Praveen’s thoughts of taking the marriage vows seriously, and more to heart, as you say. I believe you find more reasons to make things work, if you’ve no other options but to work it out. And love has its mysterious ways; it just happens if people change.

      Thanks for the great advices and suggestions that complement this post. :)

      • Ilka Flood
        Twitter:

        August 20, 2012 at 12:45 am

        Hi Harleena,

        To answer your question…” Do you think people should be taught about the what’s, why’s, and how’s of a marriage before they get married, so they do not end up in a shocked and broken state?

        YES, that would actually be a great idea. And in the “old days” that’s what the engagement period was for. Oh, and I believe the Catholic Church still provides counseling before couples get married if I’m correct.

        • Harleena Singh
          Twitter:

          August 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm

          I agree Ilka.

          Some of the old traditions and rituals did have good meaning and reasoning behind them. I believe it should be mandatory to all what is followed up at the Catholic Church.

          Thanks once again :)

  21. Deone Higgs
    Twitter:

    August 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Harleena, you pretty much covered them all, in this powerful informative post.

    There really can be so many aspects as to why good marriages, turn bad. But in my opinion… Communication, communication, communication! Those that can talk through anything, will survive anything.

    If one or the other feels as though they aren’t being heard, a host of negative alternatives are able to take place. And depending how one partner saw their parents interact with the other, has a strong bearing on how they will react and interact, as well. Let’s say, for instance, the husband saw his father (or step-father) try to control his mother. He will more than likely do the same, unless he has become mindful that the behavior was wrong and made corrections, he will more than likely be a repeat offender. Or let’s say the wife, saw her mother as being the head of the household, she may not be able to see her mate as an equal, and try to run the him like she what she saw happening when she grew up.

    Also, many people have a tendency to rush into a marriage without “really” getting to know who they are marrying. By the time they do, the honeymoon is long been over and the “I do”, has turned into, “I wish I would have…”

    Marriage is a very serious commitment, and although I haven’t been able to be in one, personally – due to the laws of the land I’m in – I have seen my share of them go terribly awry.

    My partner and I pretty much see ourselves as being married, and we have managed to make our own share of mistakes; but we also recognize the power of being able to discuss the mistakes to use them as tools for our relationship, later.

    Great read, Harleena. Another informative post, my friend. Thanks. :)
    Deone Higgs recently posted..Forgive Yourself and Release Those Who’s Actions Speak Louder than WordsMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Glad you liked the post Deone!

      Your suggestions can be packed into the 3C’s – Communication, Commitment, and Correction (the process of mutually resolving your mistakes). In an earlier comment, Hajra too had suggested her 3C’s, which were Commitment, Compromise, and Care. Adding one that I suggest “Change”, you see we got 6 C’s that can make any marriage see through success!

      You’ve also emphasized on how our parents influence our behavior and “patterns” that Aaron also talked about in his comment. How important it is for parents to be role models and be conscious of how they portray themselves before children, knowing that children imbibe what is presented to them, and carry that forward in their lives.

      I agree that marriage mostly becomes a routine formality or a thing to do or try, as also mentioned by Anne and Debbie. It is a serious commitment as you state, and lot of thinking, in-depth soul searching and analyzing needs to be done in order to make sure you live through a happy and healthy marriage. Marriage is not a decision that can be taken on the spur of a moment, or as Ilka puts it, it’s not dating.

      It takes a few months to a few years for the adjustment period before you feel you’ve settled down with everything clearly defined and understood by both the spouses to make each other comfortable in the marriage.

      I’m sure if you’re treading the path carefully, you’ll experience success in your relationship. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and views, which are indeed vital contribution to the post :)

  22. Annie Andre
    Twitter:

    August 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Hello Harleena

    Like Adrienne, I just don’t know how to respond to this. I wanted to respond to a comment I found here. For instance, someone said that

    “the reason that there are so many failed marriages, is because people get married for the wrong reasons.”

    Maybe that is partially true for some people but i hardly think this is the reason for most or all. I realize that there are more divorces these days than there were say 30 or 40 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that marriages of past were better suited or that people today are getting married for the wrong reasons. I know plenty of ELDER people who just STAYED MARRIED despite being in a bad marriage or a marriage that has lost it’s love. People of the past felt obligated to stay married for the kids.

    Today, people give themselves permission to get divorced to be happy. I don’t believe staying in a bad marriage is what is best for the kids.

    As for me, my experience is that “people change”. I THOUGHT I married one person. But when you are young (23), you are not the person you will be one day (most of the time). My husband changed. I changed. We changed in different directions. He became an alcoholic and couldn’t hold a job. I went to college and climbed the corporate ladder. I could have stayed but decided I deserve better and so do my children.

    I’m sure there are loads of other reasons why peoples marriages break up, but this is my reason. I feel so lucky to have re-married the best person, husband and father.

    Thanks harleena for letting me vent.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      August 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      I appreciate your comment, Annie. Always feel free to express your thoughts and emotions here :)

      I think you made a crucial decision in your life before it was too late, and that turned out good for you and your children. It’s good to adopt change if that lifts you up from a bad unrecoverable situation and if it turns out to be a better solution benefiting all.

      I’m one of those who feel the children should not suffer because of an estranged marriage, as they really undergo a lot watching their parents go separate ways. But I’m glad that now you’ve a happy family and a doting husband, who is a good father too.

      Many do not foresee that marriage is a very serious commitment to raise a family. They do not carefully check out all the aspects before getting married that could affect their married life. I think common long-term goals, financial stability and security, and compatibility are few of the important aspects.

      I believe the right reasons to get married would be for both partners to have a great understanding, liking for each others nature, and love for the partner as a person that is often shielded behind the veils of style, fashion, superficiality, and artificiality, and the trust that each other will make efforts to make their married life comfortable and secure.

      I think one difference between the earlier marriages and the marriages of present are that the former had “patience” as a virtue. These days, people do not wish to endure the initial trying period if it gets a bit long.

      I also think elder people made a choice to stay together in spite of differences, making sure not to make it obvious to their children, was because they put their children’s happiness before their own, taking full responsibility of providing them their right to have a normal development. May be the social factors too bound them, as divorce did not have that social acceptance, which it has now.

      Having said that, I still maintain my stand, if the needs are genuine, then divorce could be an option to relieve the whole family from continual suffering.

      Thanks for sharing you personal life experiences and your thoughts about the topic.

  23. Carlita

    September 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I can say that my marriage was a failure and resulted in a painful divorce… this was because of competitive relationship, there were no friendship there, it was more.. my family loves you more than me… this was always what my freaking ex used to say…. the relationship started fine… but then… it was more a fact of a jealousy and it become a competitive relationship… something like… you did it….now I have to do the same but better. Now I am in a healthy relationship, thank God!!

    Thanks for your wonderful article and I fully agree with what your saying. Normally I do say… attraction is a matter of 2 to 5 years the so called passion, after that is …either love or divorce.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      September 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Welcome to the blog, Carlita!

      I’m glad you like the post. You’re right in your observation that the fizz of passion runs out in the first half or full decade, and what remains is a bland life, which if not treated with love, understanding, and care since its initial phase, turns out to be boring, crippled with fights, and often ends in divorce.

      It’s good to know that you’re enjoying your relationship now, something that you missed in your life earlier. I’ve not heard many of cases like yours, and it’s really sad that spouses start competing with each other, whereas, they need to work like a team and support each other.

      Thank you for sharing your life experiences. :)

      • Carla

        September 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm

        I really regret of not knowing my boyfriend that I have now before… the marriage I had before… resuming by parts was… you ready? lol here it goes… went to usa to get married with him, got stopped by the ins (immigration) they sent me back in the same day for another 12 hours flight, went back again after taking care of all documentation, and got married on the saint valentines day, on my wedding day, yeah I was the news on the newspaper town on that day because of the immigration problems… it rain, it made sun, then it snowed on my wedding day, I pretty much didn’t took that as a good sign lol.

        At first it was all love here and there…then it was only arguments… it was pretty awful after 10 years(still trying to conclude) I will finally get my 100% divorce. Lucky that there’s no kids involved.

        Glad its over though! lol and the thing is… you know that feeling that when you look back and think… yaicks did I really had to pass through all this cause of a weirdo, yet attraction,mixed with passion and stupidity ? lol You know what I mean lolol. Well I am going to stop here or else this will end up like a testament lol. Like your blog!
        Carla recently posted..Beaphar Flea Fumigator by BEAMYMy Profile

        • Harleena Singh
          Twitter:

          September 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

          Carla, I believe some things are bound to happen, so they happen. Either it’s destined, or it’s because of our doings and mistakes. In case of marriages, generally both the spouses are accountable, but exceptions are there. However, once they happen, we can’t do anything but take lessons from them. And it is also said that there’s a time for everything. May be you were destined to go through a bad patch so you could appreciate your present relationship.

          You did make so much of efforts to get married, and got married on an auspicious day too (apart from some events that you thought of as not good signs). But you were not able to read any signs of what will happen probably because you’re not acquainted with all aspects of your spouse’s personality. You’ve analyzed it correctly that many of us misunderstand attraction and passion for love, do not think ahead or beyond, and then regret it later as a stupid move.

          A good marriage always stands on compatibility, love, and understanding in all aspects of life. It’s the inner attraction that really matters, but we fall for the external ones and the false internal cues that we’re not able to decipher in time.

          I’m glad you shared your life experiences and your understanding that will help many others. Thank you for appreciating the blog, always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  24. Nikky44
    Twitter:

    September 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I had a bad marriage. I think there is never one person to blame. It’s the responsibility of both partners to help it succeed. A bad marriage can result from all the different things you have mentioned, but I would add one which is Love.

    Love is the basis of a good marriage, but TOO much love can have the opposite result when it’s a one sided love affair. If you love too much, you turn your blind eye to the lack of love in your partner’s heart, to all what can destroy the relationship in the future. You give up on yourself and your needs just to be with him, but that can’t last long.

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      September 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      I think you’re absolutely correct in saying that it takes two hands to clap. However, I agree there can be exceptions where really only one person is at fault in a relationship. But yes, both partners are equally responsible for a marriage to work – it’s like a bicycle, which wouldn’t move if only one wheel moved, it takes two to tango there!

      Yours has been an exceptional case too. A marriage falling apart because of excess love is unheard of, but yes one sided affairs and marriages do have a dwindling fate. The partners in a marriage need strong mutual commitment. You’ve told us how one sided love affair can turn into a bad marriage – lesson to be learnt that one needs to keep eyes open in a relationship.

      Thank you for sharing your personal life experiences to help all my readers.

  25. Dilip

    September 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    A comprehensive post on the institution of marriage. Yes the world over is littered with broken marriages or marriages which are maintained only for the sake of the children. Yes virtues like ‘understanding, caring, sharing and love’ can make the partnership a sustainable and joyous one.

    Thank you Harleena for this highly insightful article.

    Regards & cheers :)
    Dilip recently posted..Adieus Amigos – the joys of youthMy Profile

    • Harleena Singh
      Twitter:

      September 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Glad that you liked the post, Dilip!

      I agree that this post might be comprehensive but I think it is not complete, as a lot can be written about the numerous aspects of marriage. It is sad that bad marriages happen, and worse is the case if children are involved.

      There can be no successful marriage without the LUCK factor – Love, Understanding, Compassion, Kindness.

      Thanks for your views. :)

  26. WeddingCeremonyOutline

    March 31, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I believe choosing your partner on the basis of appearance and sexual needs is one of the biggest reasons for a bad marriage. You should take time to see if the person you like is compatible match for you before deciding to marry.

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