With the age of technology, and younger couples opting for life partners rather than marriage, it seems that times are changing. A couple can be in a relationship for years and then decide that it is over, not stating that the relationship failed, but it was time to move on. How is this any different than two people getting married and then deciding that ten years later the relationship is over?
Somehow because they signed a piece of paper the marriage failed. Many people can have a wonderful marriage for years, and then over time the couple grows apart. They don't work on the marriage, or simply the relationship expires.
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The stigma that goes with a failed marriage is much greater than a couple that has decided to end a relationship where marriage papers were not part of it. This is one main reason why people that have been married before are opting not to marry again, yet to live with their significant other. People tend to carry around the stigma of a failed marriage as a sign that there is something wrong with them, instead of understanding the nature that most relationships rarely make it to "until death do us part."
The old adage of two people staying married yet miserable because divorce was simply not an option has obviously changed over the years. There is less judgment on those who divorce than even twenty years ago, but still as far as we have come in the view of divorced couples, there continues to be the stigma of a failed marriage that individuals carry with them.
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The question proposed, as why do so many marriages fail over time, never takes into account all of the couples that had wonderful marriages at one point, and then they simply grew apart. The idea of a marriage expiring is never really taken into account. For many couples who were in long-term marriages and then split apart, having to look back on their marriage and say "Yes I had a great marriage for this amount of time," is much better than saying that their marriage failed. Life is too short for too people to stay together for years being unhappy and making others around them unhappy just because of the idea that marriages have to last until death do us part.
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