How does a once-good marriage slip away?
I get asked that question when it becomes public that a marriage everyone thought was rock solid falls apart.
As the song goes—it’s a slow fade. A good marriage doesn’t deteriorate overnight. It diminishes gradually.
There are probably lots of reasons. There are usually a few common causes, in my experience.
Here are five ways a once-good marriage slips away—or falls apart:
Other interests come between them. It could be a relationship—even other good relationships—or a hobby, or work, but something gets a higher priority than the marriage. Distractions will destroy a good marriage.
Unresolved conflict. Conflict left unattended sometimes sits like it never existed. But, oh, it did. And it does. Someone is holding on to it. Trust me. And the longer it sits the deeper the wedge it causes.
The couple stops dreaming together. When a couple is dating, they have lots of dreams together. They discuss their future. They dream about where they will live and travel. They dream about family and adventure. It’s an energy that fuels the relationship. When it stops, the fuel it brought stops.
Boredom. I’ve long said this is one of the leading causes of marriages unraveling. Couples quit dating—quit laughing—quit having fun together. They get caught in the routines and busyness of life. Boredom sets in and the closeness they once shared begins to drift. The enemy love this, and suddenly one or both spouses seek excitement elsewhere. Dangerous.
Living separate agendas. It’s OK to have separate identities. Even encouraged. It’s OK to have separate interests. It keeps things interesting. But it’s not OK to have separate agendas. The agenda should be two very different people blending those differences into one. When that’s not happening—the strength of the marriage will slowly—or quickly—fade.
I’m praying for your marriage—as I continue to pray for mine. Stand firm.