Even good marriages crumble for these reasons.
What does a stable marriage look like? Steadfast, enduring, permanent? In today's marriage climate, those words don't seem to reflect many marriages I know. Couples are cheating, divorcing and falling apart and that's not even counting the celebrity marriages.
When I said "I do," I said it hoping my marriage would endure. Yet, the longer I've been married the more I see how easy it is to loose your footing on the foundations of your marriage. Here are 6 ways that I know marriages can stumble.
1. You rely on our spouse to fulfill all of your needs.
It is unfair to think that our spouse will meet all of our needs. Being a guy who is trying to align his life with the Bible, I tend to go back to the story about Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they were kicked out of paradise where all their needs were met. They were then cursed to work hard for everything they needed.
Whether you believe that story or not, the truth remains that it takes a lot of work and more than one person to fill all the needs in our lives. We long for all of our needs to be met by one person, but that just isn't going to happen. Your spouse is human, not divine. Your spouse may be great but you can't expect them to be your Eden.
2. You think it's all about yourself.
To quote from Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, "it's not about you."
But, we do make our marriages all about it. When it comes to relationships, we think only of ourselves and our needs. I admit I am REALLY selfish. I want my Beautiful Wife™ to take care of all of my wants and needs.
But what if I shifted my perspective a bit and focused on serving her and actually asked questions about what she desires? When it comes to serving my wife, I am often inconsiderate and that causes problems. I have to remember that my marriage is not all about me.
3. You make the other person the center of your life.
We all love a good romantic movie. I'm a sucker for "The American President" with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. But life and marriage don't work like they do in the movies. You can't just run around always thinking about that special someone.
I believe that marriage is the most important relationship we can have on this planet; however, if you make your mate the one and only center of your universe, your life is gonna be screwy. I said earlier that marriage is not all about you, but guess what?
Marriage is not all about your spouse either. You can't be around your spouse every waking minute. That's just creepy. Give your spouse the space to grow and be who they are.
4. You make being happy the most important thing in your life.
I think married couples should be happy. If they aren't happy they should be working on being happy. But happiness isn't the most important thing in a marriage. Dr. Corey Allan said it well on his blog SimpleMarriage.net, "Marriage is about growing us up." And guess what? Growing pains hurt.
Our culture gives us so many messages about how this 'thing' or that 'thing' will make us happy and fulfilled. Yet, if we approach our marriage with an attitude that asks, "What are you going to do for me to make me happy?" Your marriage is going to be a tough road. Marriage is about growing and learning to be a better person. Its not about being happy all the time.
5. You compare your marriage to others.
"Oh, the Phillips family down the street has the greatest, most happy marriage that I have ever seen!" Sure, but what about the stuff you don't see? When we start comparing our marriage to other marriages, we set our relationships up for failure.
When we compare, we are taking what we know about our relationship and comparing it to what we DON'T know about someone else's. This can cause bitterness and dissatisfaction, which breeds contempt. No marriage needs that.
6. You make your marriage about romantic feelings.
Passion eventually fades. To make your marriage last you have to be committed to your spouse no matter how you feel. The romantic feelings may come and go, but your feelings of togetherness and bondedness don't have to quit.
Become a student of your spouse; learn everything you can about them. It will keep you interested in and interesting to the one you love.
What do you do to create a stable marriage?