When we hear about Christian marriages failing, we are somehow caught off guard.
This is likely because we have a misconceived idea that Christian marriages are immune to failure. We all love a good marriage success story.
We all love seeing, reading or hearing about love conquering all.
Yet, when it comes to acknowledging the actual work that has to be put into a marriage to make it work, we don’t necessarily show the same level of interest.
We turn a blind eye towards the reasons why marriages fail and rather judge the failed marriage.
The Word says that God’s “people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”
We encourage you to arm yourself with knowledge and avoid marital destruction with these reasons why Christian marriages fail:
Not knowing your partner very well
Marriage is a forever covenant between man and woman in the sight of God.
Yet many Christians get married without knowing their partners very well. People do more research when buying a toaster.
Spend some more time getting to know your partner, and their family, better before tying the knot.
As Christians, there is a certain need for fellowship and connection with the greater body of Christ.
This is often where interferences can happen, people giving loving yet unsolicited advice.
It is when this advice is heeded without connecting with your spouse first the problems set in.
Troubles with the in-laws
Many fights and or failed marriages can be attributed to the family-in-law. More specifically the mother-and father-in-law.
Exodus 20:12 clearly says to honor our father and mother, yet where should the line be drawn?
The line is drawn in Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31 “man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife”.
This does not mean that now fathers and mothers should be dishonored. It only means that the opinion of the spouse should be deemed more important.
Rifts can be caused by having different religions within a marriage.
This does not necessarily only involve different religions, but could also be attributed to different beliefs in the same religion.
Christianity has many different branches from Protestant and Catholic to Pentecostal and Charismatic all with slightly different beliefs.
The Bible advises that we should be “equally yoked” 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Related Article: Christian Marriage Advice for Couples: 17 will Surprise You.
Having different future plans and visions
People have different personalities and have been created uniquely.
Many marriages fail because there is either not a clear combined vision for their future, or the spouses can’t agree on a vision for the future.
Praying and spending time with the Father together often brings people onto the same page, vision-wise. It is there that God shows each spouse HIS vision.
Life in the 21st century is a rush. People have personal goals and dreams that they pursue and in doing so they gradually disconnect from their partners.
Many times, simply sharing goals and dreams with a spouse already brings them closer together. This leads to the next point…
Not communicating effectively
Probably the largest cause of failed marriages is ineffective communication. From a lack thereof to over-communication.
In all instances, there should be a clear line of communication between spouses.
Clear and safe space should exist wherein a spouse can raise an issue or concern within the relationship.
The Bible advises “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”, James 1:19.
Kris Vallotton’s “Agreeing isn’t the point” blog post is a brilliantly helpful resource on communicating better.
Not being able to resolve conflict
Following the previous point, a big contributor to failed marriages is that partners do not know how to resolve conflict.
Ephesians 4:26 advises, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”
Having or hiding financial problems
Financial problems and not being clear about financial problems within a relationship is a large cause of failed marriages.
Firstly, having financial debt puts pressure onto a couple, then having secret debt can cause larger problems and lead to feelings of distrust and dishonesty.
Be open and honest about financial problems or mistakes. That way the issue can be faced as a couple.
Speaking of hiding things, when spouses have struggles and secret sins that they keep from their partners, conflicts and trust issues arise.
Further issues that can arise is a shame, then acting out of shame pushes loved ones away in times of insecurity.
James 5:16 says: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other”
Mistakes are bound to be made within a marriage, that is the human way.
The problem comes in when either or both parties are unwilling to forgive mistakes.
Again, we can find brilliant advice in God’s Word, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you” Colossians 3:13.
Not investing time into the relationship
Couples should set aside special times to invest in their relationship.
Going on a spontaneous date or having a movie night in the middle of the week can go a long way towards bringing partners together.
Not being there for your spouse
Oftentimes when couples have been together for a long time they tend to set into a routine.
This can be dangerous as it is during this time that one or both partners can start to feel like the other is not there for them in their time of need.
The book Culture of Honour by Danny Silk is a great resource in knowing how to honor your spouse and be there for them.
Not making your expectations clear
Everyone has relational expectations. Whether they expect someone to act in a certain way or whether they expect things to happen in a certain way.
These expectations should always be communicated. Failure to communicate expectations in a relationship can easily lead to disappointments.
Related Article: How to Keep Gods Presence in your Marriage.
Refusing to compromise
No one wants to compromise, and that causes many marriages to fail.
Compromise is not a negative word, being willing to compromise shows your partner that you trust them and have a common goal in mind.
These are pressures on your relationship, either from society, church, or family.
External pressures from a spouse’s mother to give them a grandchild or pressure from work about a big project.
If a couple allows their relationship to be affected by these pressures it can most certainly mean failure.
Not knowing yourself
Personal identity is extremely important. It is also important to ensure that you don’t lose yourself within the “couple”.
Knowing that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) is a great starting block on your self-discovery adventures.
Spend time hearing who God says you are.
Not being intimate
Sexual intimacy is crucial in a marriage and often when a couple is regularly intimate, they tend to be closer emotionally.
God intended for sex to be a beautiful act of love; however, society has shone a bad light on sex.
Dr. Caroline Leaf interviews a sex therapist, Emily Morse about sexual intimacy in her Cleaning up the Mental Mess podcast.
This has nothing to do with sex, but rather being in physical contact regularly. Oftentimes spouses just need a hug or touch on the hand, to reassure them.
In order to touch your partner, you need to be close to them. It is amazing what a simple back rub or holding hand can do for a relationship.
Being unfaithful either emotionally and/or physically is a major cause of failed marriages. Between 20-40% of divorces are due to infidelity, that is a striking amount.
There is often a slow move towards being unfaithful that is usually sparked by feeling unloved, unseen or unappreciated in the marriage.
Having constant and open communications about your feelings and needs will help a great deal.
Not having clear boundaries
Just because you are married does not mean that there should not be any boundaries within the relationship.
These boundaries should not only exist inside the marriage but also outside the marriage. Clear boundaries that protect a couple from potential conflict.
Read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud John Townsend for some valuable insight and guidance on setting clear boundaries.
Couples often grow apart during a marriage; this usually happens after the couple has children.
There are many contributing factors to growing apart ranging from being busy at work to spending more time with the children.
Make time as a couple by doing the 40 Day Love Dare Challenge, by Alex and Stephen Kendrick
Addictions cause many marriages to fail. Substances like addiction to alcohol or it could be hidden like gambling and porn addictions.
Whether it is a blatant or hidden addiction, it puts unnecessary strain on a relationship.
Sober for Life – Christian Addiction Recovery Podcast is a great resource to help to overcome these addictions and breaking those chains.
Related Article: 35 Powerful Bible Verses for a Broken Marriage.
When you get lost in your roles
There is a very real threat to relationships when couples settle into societal roles.
Where a woman settles into the role of homemaker and the man settles into the Bob the Builder role.
The problem with uncompromisingly settling into these roles within a marriage is that partners get lost in them.
Switch things up a bit. Women, mow the lawn and men, tidy the kitchen. That ought to spice things up a bit.
All people have insecurities about themselves and their abilities.
It is when these insecurities take hold of either or both spouses within a marriage that the marriage fails.
Insecurities cause shame, blame, and fear. It causes the need for constant reassurance and upliftment from a spouse.
Yet the Bible reminds us that “we have not been given a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7
Having different parenting styles
Children are without a doubt a gift from God, but often children (unbeknownst to them) cause friction within a marriage.
This friction comes from each spouse having different ideas or styles of parenting. One spouse believes in spanking the child and the other beliefs in grounding the child.
It is important that couples discuss their individual views and more importantly God’s view on parenting BEFORE they start having children.
Only focussing on the children
Family is a representation of God’s heart for humanity. Yet, marriages often fail when one or both spouses only focus on the needs, wants, and futures of their children.
Children are obviously important however; they should not be more important than the constant connection between husband and wife.
If the parents’ relationship is strong, the family is strong. Read Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk for great tips and guidance on keeping connected.
There is a big difference between childlikeness and childishness. We cannot force people into being spiritually mature and we all need patience within our Christian growth.
Marriages often fail when either one or both partners are reluctant to mature spiritually or they ridicule or judge the spiritual growth or immaturity of the other.
Remember, “love is patient… and kind”. 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is not proud. Pride has caused many Christian marriages to fail.
When a partner makes a mistake or says something hurtful, but is then too proud to apologize or admit to being wrong.
Pride also prevents couples from seeking counseling or help from spiritual leaders, pride says “we can fix it ourselves”.
Selfishness causes couples to not compromise. Being selfish in a relationship can cause resentment and conflict.
Selfishness tells your partner that you do not care about their feelings, views, or desires. Philippians 2:3 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
Feelings of entitlement
The I-deserve-this feeling manifests in different ways. Some are seemingly unharmful like wanting an apology or feeling you deserve a “thank you”.
There is also harmful entitlement like using the Word as a weapon to get what you “deserve” such as sex from your partner.
We should remember that Jesus left his entitlement in heaven when he came down to earth and took what we deserved (death) upon himself.
Reading this list about reasons why Christian marriages fail you might feel helpless and negative, but there is hope in Christ.
Spend time with your spouse, studying each other and God’s word. Pray for one another and make time to explore each other’s hearts and get to know each other anew.
Don’t be discouraged. If you are in a marriage that seems like it is failing, hold onto the promise that “what God joined no man can separate.”
Reach out to your church community for love and help.
Watch films such as Fireproof or Indivisible with your spouse, read books together, and sign up for courses like the Love After Marriage online course.
Remember to not lose hope and to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6