12 Things That Can Cause Marriage Failure


Of course you don’t want your marriage to fail, do you? You want it to last for life. But if too many of the things listed below are too often a part of your life, then you may be on a dangerous road in your relationship.

1. You work more on your wedding than on your marriage.

You spend hundreds of hours planning and preparing for your wedding—the venue, the dress, the guest list, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the ceremony, the vows—but choose not to spend time planning and preparing on growing your marriage.

2. You believe that marriage is a contract.

Even though you don’t say it, you really believe that marriage is a transaction between two people, a contract, and not a covenant.  You have the mind-set that most things in your relationship are negotiated—“If you do this, then and only then I will do that.” You think that marriage is a 50/50 partnership rather than a 100/100 give it all you’ve got relationship.

[7 Truths About Marriage]

3. You think that your spouse’s job is to make you happy.

In my 8 Mistakes I’ve made in marriage blog, I shared how I used to think that Susan’s duty as my wife was to make me happy. I expected Susan to lift me up when I was down, to help me upon command; and to meet my physical needs when called upon just to name a few. In reality, here’s what you should expect in your marriage.

[8 Expectations for a Great Marriage]

4. You are not trustworthy.

You cannot be trusted by your spouse when: you don’t speak the truth at all times, you keep secrets, or you don’t do what you say you’ll do.

[Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship]

5. You always put your kids first.

You pour all of your time, energy, attention, and affection into your children. You give them your freshest and best and always serve your spouse leftovers.

[4 Marriage Rules You Should Break]

6. You give in to temptation.

You talk about your personal pressures and problems with another person besides your spouse. You feel like the other person empathizes and understands you better.  Instead of running from this temptation, you run to it and end up in an intimate emotional or physical relationship.

[10 Ways to Affair-Proof Your Marriage]

7. You always expect your spouse to change.

You see your spouse’s faults and failures every day. It’s really irritating and frustrating you. They’re messy, they’re lazy, they nag you, they don’t help with the kids, they’re always at work. You think you’ve done all the changing and they haven’t done a thing.

[5 C’s of a Healthy Marriage]

8. You treat your spouse like the enemy.

You think they are on the opposing team so you keep a marital scorecard. You keep track of who spends more, disciplines more, does the dishes more, cleans more, mows more, and works more. And you become bitter and resent your spouse for not helping enough or for having more fun.

[Your Spouse is Not the Enemy]

9. Your words constantly tear your spouse down.

Your sarcastic, unsupportive, disrespectful, comparing words are toxins of the tongue that poison your marriage.

10. You don’t respect your spouse.

You don’t respect your spouse’s judgment. You constantly question their decisions and abilities.

[Do You Respect Your Spouse’s Judgment?]

11. You fail to ask for forgiveness and forgive.

Your spouse says you hurt them. You don’t see that you did anything wrong so you’re not going to apologize. They get bitter. You get bitter.

[A True Apology]

[Giving Forgiveness]

12. You listen to foolish marriage advice.

You listen to well-intended, but foolish, advice about your relationship from a “friend” who wants you to join their man-hater or woman-hater club rather than listening to wise advice from a trusted source.

[Finding a Good Marriage Counselor]


Which of these reasons is most true in your marriage? Please share with me below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Deano

    Wow this is the most wonderful list and package of information. It comes at a very special time for my wife and I thanks you

  • So glad you found it to be encouraging!

  • John Coloe

    All well-said (as usual). Really like the links to positive, encouraging and uplifting information. For every “don’t” there’s a “do”. And I especially love your continued transparency. You don’t hide your imperfection. You embrace it, and put it out there for all to see (and to learn from).

    I like to think of marriage as a covenant commitment to love another imperfect person…for a lifetime. I also believe that great marriages are made up of two givers, as well as two forgivers!

    Keep up the great work you and the team are doing for marriages and families.

  • Crystle-lynn

    I enjoy reading both “All Pro Dad” and “iMom” emails, it gives me a POV from both sides. I believe my husband and I sometimes keep a “scorecard”, no to become enemies, but because we both gave eachother chores to share the load, and if things arn’t up to par for us, we nag.

    I like how you and your wife use the “good-bad-good” technique, and always have links to support it, its very inspirational. For every bad thing that is there, there’s always a good thing to trump it, and brighten it up:)

    IMom and All Pro Dad, is an every day reminder to my family that its always work, and at the end of our day, when we put our daughter down, its a reminder that its worth it. Thank you for sharing with us your stories, and how you and your wife came over your problems.

  • Hey John, good thoughts…especially “that great marriages are made up of two givers, as well as two forgivers!”

  • Mike

    No. 3

  • Tanya M

    All of these things are important. But I have an area that is not mentioned that I struggle with and am trying to fix. My issue is how I portray my husband to others. I usually do not say anything about him to my friends, but when I do, it is not complimentary. When I stop and think about what I have said in the past, I am ashamed. It’s not that he doesn’t treat me well or doesn’t care about my feelings. He is a kind and generous man, and he is always complimentary to me. It just seems that the only time I speak up to my friends is when he’s done something that hurt me or is iritating me. I don’t want to air my ‘dirty laundry’ to my friends. I want them to know that he is the man I love and respect.
    I like your idea of posting a sign somewhere to help remind me of my commitment to change my behavior. I will post a note in my wallet so that when i open it I will be constantly reminded to honor him in front of my friends, as well as when I am with him, either alone or in front of our friends. I’m sure that he would love to hear how I really feel about him as a person, not how I feel only when I’m irked with him.
    Thanks for the insight I have gained by your article.

  • Tanya, sounds like you’ve already given yourself some good advice!

  • Madeleine Fisher

    one thilng that many wives do—not giving sexual unity priority—if there’s no sexual unity—a man and woman are just roommates!!

  • Mart

    How about, you spend all your time on the computer and watching sports and put her last?

  • Mart

    He doesn’t like back rubs so he doesn’t give them, either. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them! Is that a reasonable interpretation of the Golden Rule? I think so. It works both ways.

  • unhappy

    well according to this my marriage is sooooo over, and has been for years. how do you change something that is so negative into success?

  • Queen

    My husband of 24years is not trustworthy

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  • kyle

    pretty much explains why I left my wife despite many attempts to communicate about these issues

  • Bill Powell

    Glad this is making the rounds again .. our teammates deserve our best, and not our last. We should focus and listen (SILENT has the same letters). Thank you Mark for sharing again. #ThingstoThinkabout