The Marriage Lesson I Learned Too Late (2023)

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The things that destroy love and marriage are often disguised as unimportant. Many dangerous things tooAppearinsideto feeldangerous when they happen. It's not bombs and gunfire. They are perforations. They are scissors. And that's the danger. If we don't recognize something as threatening, then we're not on guard. These small wounds begin to bleed, and the bleeding is so slow that many of us don't realize the threat until it's too late to stop it.

I spent most of my life believing that what broke marriages were behaviors that I considered criminal offenses. If murder, rape, and armed robbery are crimes in the criminal justice system, I have considered sexual intercourse, physical spousal abuse, and gambling on family savings to be crimes in marriage.

The Marriage Lesson I Learned Too Late (1)

Since I have committed no crime, I would like to suggest that if my wife and I were on opposite sides of an issue, we would agree to disagree. I believed she was wrong, or that she misjudged the situation, or that she was treating me unfairly. It always felt like the punishment didn't fit the crime, like he was charging me with first-degree murder when my ticket was about to lightly tap the burnt-out taillight that I didn't even know I'd burned out for driving over the speed limit.

The reason my marriage failed seems absurd when I describe it:My wife left me because sometimes I leave the dishes in the sink.

It makes her look ridiculous and makes me look like a victim of unfair expectations. But it wasn't the china, not really, it was what it represented.

Read: Washing dishes is the worst

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Hundreds, maybe thousands of times my wife tried to tell me something was wrong. that something hurtsBut that doesn't make senseThink.I'm not trying to hurt you; so she shouldn't feel hurt.

We don't fall into a fiery explosion. We bleed from 10,000 paper cuts. Quiet. Slow.

She knew something was wrong. I insisted it was fine. That's how my marriage ended. Yours can end up like this too.

Every couple has their own unique version of The Same Fight. It could be anything. throw clothes on the floor. Leaving mud all over the house right after your partner cleans up. It doesn't matter what the real thing is. For us, it was the dishes by the sink.

I sometimes leave used cups in the kitchen sink inches from the dishwasher. Not a big deal for me now. When I was married it wasn't a big deal for me. butI wasbig problem for them. Every time my wife went into the kitchen to find the cup she had left in the sink, she felt closer to moving out and our marriage coming to an end. I just didn't know yet.

you might be wonderingHello Matt! Why would you leave a glass in the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher?

Some reasons:

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  1. You might want to use it again.
  2. Personally, I don't mind if there is a glass next to the sink unless there are guests. I will never care. It's impossible. It's like being asked if I'm interested in crocheting or if I like gardening.

There's only one reason I should stop leaving my cup in the sink, and it's a lesson I learned too late: because I love and respect my partner, and they really care about them.

I think she thought my wife should respect me just because I took her vows. It wouldn't have been the first time I'd done right. What I do know for sure is that I never considered putting a plate in the dishwasher with earning my wife's respect.

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I think sometimes these little things blow up on The Same Fight because maybe we don't think it's fair that our partner's preferences always take precedence over our own. It's like we're fighting for our right to leave that pot there.

The reaction might go something like this:

Do you want to spend a quiet night arguing with me about that glass? After all the great things I do to make our lives possible, things I never hear thank you for (I don't ask), will you turn a glass in the sink into a marital problem? I couldn't behe wasinsignificant if I tried. If you want the cup in the dishwasher, put it in yourself without telling me. Otherwise, I keep it when people arrive or when I'm done. This is a shit fight that seems unfair.

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I wanted my wife to agree that, putting life in perspective, a glass in the sink isn't a big deal that should trigger an argument. I thought I should recognize how petty and insignificant I was in the grand scheme of life. I repeated that train of thought for nearly 12 years, hoping she would finally agree with me.

But she never did. She never agreed.

I've been arguing about the merits of a glass in the sink. But my wife didn't mind the glass. It wasn't about dishes in the sink or dirty clothes on the floor or her trying to stop taking care of our son, for whom there's nothing she wouldn't do.

It was about consideration. About the general feeling of being married to someone who didn't respect or appreciate her. And if he didn't respect or appreciate her, then he didn't love her in a way that felt trustworthy. She couldn't count on the adult who had promised to love her forever, because none of that washing dishes in the sink was like being loved.

Now I understand that putting that jar in there put my wife in pain, literally giving her pain because she felt like I just said, “Hey. I don't respect you or value your thoughts and opinions. Not taking four seconds to put my glass in the dishwasher is more important to me than it is to you."

Suddenly, that moment isn't about something as benign and meaningless as a dirty glass. Well, this moment is about a significant act of love and sacrifice.

My wife knew I was reasonably intelligent, so she couldn't understand how I could be so stupid after hundreds of these conversations. She started to wonder if I was intentionally hurting her and if I really loved her.

(Video) This is How Relationships End with Matthew Fray | The Mark Groves Podcast

Here's the thing. A dish in the sink in no way seems hurtful or disrespectful to a spouse who wakes up each day to witness a spouse communicating in word and deed how important and valued their spouse and relationship is. My wife didn't throw shit with a plate in the sink because she's an insufferable crybaby who has to get what she wants all the time. My wife shared her pain and frustration with the frequent reminders that told her how little consideration she received when making decisions.

If we are fighting the same battle, positive intent or attribution of harm intended to be accidental can be just as damaging to trust as more overt harmful actions. It doesn't matter whether we intentionally refuse to cooperate with our spouse or whether we legitimately fail to understand what's wrong: the mathematical results are the same. The net result of The Same Fight is more pain. less confidence. Regardless of anyone's intentions.

This is how two well-meaning people slowly drift apart.

If I had to boil down the problems of failed relationships into a single idea, it would be our colossal failure to make the invisible visible, our failure to take the time and effort to cultivate an awareness of what we would otherwise miss in the rush of life. 🇧🇷 Every day. 🇧🇷

If I had known that this wedding reception situation and the fights would tear my marriage apart, that the existence of love, trust, respect and security in our marriage depended on these moments that I dismissed as insignificant disagreements, I would have done it. several possibilities.

I could have expressed my love and respect to hernoShe left her little reminders every day that she wasn't being considerate. That she was not remembered. That she was not respected. I could have carefully avoided leaving evidence that I would always choose my feelings and preferences over hers.

This article is adapted from Matthew Fray's new book.This is how your marriage ends.

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When should you stop trying in a marriage? ›

10 giveaways to stop trying to fix a relationship
  • Ignored needs. As mentioned, we all have needs, but if you can't find a way to reconcile your needs, this could be one of the signs your relationship is beyond repair. ...
  • Secrecy and fear. ...
  • Abuse and trauma. ...
  • You're trying to change your partner. ...
  • No intimacy. ...
  • Emotional disconnect.
Dec 30, 2021

How do you know your marriage is over? ›

"If you're no longer spending any time together, if one or both partners is spending all their time at work, with friends, online — and if feels like a relief not to be with each other — it's a sign that you've already disengaged from the marriage." You don't support or listen to each other.

How do you save your marriage when it seems impossible? ›

Check out the following six tips that you can use right now to try and save your marriage.
  1. Work on intimacy. Sure, we all get busy in life. ...
  2. Talk to each other regularly. ...
  3. Enjoy spending time together. ...
  4. Practice forgiveness. ...
  5. Don't be controlling. ...
  6. Consider talk therapy.
Sep 30, 2022

What are the 3 most important things in a marriage? ›

Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship is hard, and a therapist can help you navigate difficult times and develop essential relational skills. At Dana Group, we offer individual therapy and couples therapy.
What Are the Three Most Important Things in a Relationship?
  1. Intimacy. ...
  2. Commitment. ...
  3. Communication.
May 28, 2021

What are the 3 values of marriage? ›

At times, despite your best efforts, marriage can be a challenge to navigate. But with commitment, love, respect, and trust, you and your partner can make it work even through the tough times.

What age do most marriages break up? ›

The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old. 24. 60 percent of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39.

What years of marriage is the hardest? ›

Third and Fifth Year
  • Almost 20% of divorces happened during the first five years. ...
  • Another study showed that over 67.5% of marriages end with divorce due to poor communication, followed by the inability to resolve issues at 43%.
Oct 26, 2022

Who is more likely to end a marriage? ›

A study led by the American Sociological Association determined that nearly 70% of divorces are initiated by women. And the percentage of college-educated American women who initiated divorce is even higher.

How do you tell if a man is unhappy in his marriage? ›

Here are some signs a guy is unhappy in his relationship:
  1. He spends excessive time on his devices even when he's with his partner. ...
  2. He does not show affection anymore. ...
  3. He doesn't like to spend much time with his partner. ...
  4. He feels sad and depressed with his partner. ...
  5. He prioritizes other people before his partner.
Jul 5, 2022

What three grounds could end a marriage? ›

Content Considerations for Premarital Education
  • Infidelity. Over half of all participants cited infidelity as a major reason for divorce and infidelity was the most often endorsed “final straw” reason. ...
  • Substance abuse. ...
  • Domestic violence. ...
  • Financial hardship. ...
  • Marriage expectations.

How do you know if a marriage Cannot be saved? ›

There are so many signs a marriage cannot be saved, and here are some that people shouldn't ignore.
  • There is no physical contact. ...
  • You have lost respect. ...
  • You end up arguing always. ...
  • Lack of compromise. ...
  • Substance abuse is an issue. ...
  • There is an affair going on. ...
  • Finding faults is a way of life. ...
  • Not your go-to anymore.
Aug 9, 2021

How do you know if your marriage is worth fighting for? ›

15 signs your marriage is worth saving
  • You're having second thoughts.
  • It all started when you had kids.
  • You still value the sanctity of marriage.
  • You still want to work on your marriage.
  • You can't picture your life without your spouse.
  • Your problems aren't really about your relationship.
  • You still love the person.
Jan 14, 2022

How do you survive a marriage without love? ›

How to Live in a Loveless Marriage?
  1. Change your environment and your approach. If you are still hoping that you can turn your marriage around, this is a good way to go about it. ...
  2. Show gratitude. It's easy to fall into a negative spiral when you are living a loveless marriage. ...
  3. Grow your friendships.
Feb 1, 2022

What destroys a marriage? ›

While this is obviously critically important, there are many other kinds of dishonesty that can destroy marriages. Honesty regarding things such as spending habits, internet relationships, and substance use or addiction can create cracks in a marriage that quickly become chasms.

What are the 3 P's of a husband? ›

It's all about the "three P's." "We profess, we provide and we protect," he says. "A man has got to see where he fits into the providing and protecting role. If you've got everything, you can do everything, you've got your own car … you've got a guard dog and a handgun.

What are the five C's for a successful marriage? ›

Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, and Chemistry.

What are the 7 Principles of a happy marriage? ›

Gottman's findings in his book: Seven Principles of a Healthy Marriage.
  • Enhance your Love Map.
  • Nurture Fondness and Admiration.
  • Turn towards each other.
  • Let your Partner Influence You.
  • Solve your Solvable Problems.
  • Overcome Gridlock.
  • Created Shared Meaning.
Sep 6, 2013

What is the golden rule of marriage? ›

4. The Golden Rule. Treat your significant other the way you would want to be treated. Be the person you would want to be married to.

What are the two keys to a happy marriage? ›

Marriages take work, commitment, and love, but they also need respect to be truly happy and successful. A marriage based on love and respect doesn't just happen.

What is the #1 cause of divorce? ›

It is no surprise, then, that marital infidelity is a leading cause of divorce. Just how common is marital infidelity? According to a study from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, as many as 25 percent of married men and 15 percent of married women have had extramarital affairs.

At what age is divorce hardest? ›

Elementary school age (6–12) This is arguably the toughest age for children to deal with the separation or divorce of their parents.

What profession has highest divorce rate? ›

Key findings
  • The type of job with the highest divorce rate is military work. ...
  • Following military workers, those who have a job in health care support have the next highest divorce rate. ...
  • Drilling down to the 100 most common individual occupations, bartenders top the list with a divorce rate of 4.34%.
Mar 28, 2022

What year of marriage is the happiest? ›

According to a team of researchers from Pennsylvania State and Brigham Young University, married couples reached their happiest point at the 20-year mark. For the study, scientists looked at relationship satisfaction in 2,034 marriages with an average age of 35-37.

How many years does the average marriage last? ›

What is the average length of marriage? On average, the length of a marriage in the U.S. is seven to eight years. Some states have a higher rate than others, but the divorce rate for the country is around 50%.

How long is too long for marriage? ›

Each couple is different depending on age and circumstances, but a reasonable amount of time to be engaged is one to three years. Clearly, time is on a couple's side when it comes to the longevity of their marriage. But experts agree, there's more to a happy marriage than just years spent side-by-side.

What is the number one killer of marriages? ›

Killer #1: Over Familiarity

This is the most common killer and is present in every single marriage that is not doing well. It is present even when couples think, "everything is fine."

Who is more faithful in a marriage? ›

According to the General Social Survey, men are more likely to cheat than women, with 20% of men and 13% of women reporting having sex with someone other than their partner while still married. However, the gender gap varies per age.

How divorce changes a woman? ›

Divorce puts a strain on the financial, social, and emotional relationships of the partners. This time particularly can be devastating for women who may lose confidence, be forced into custody issues, and may lose hope of ever finding happiness again. Some women find it hard to return to their normal self again.

What are the 5 important things in a marriage? ›

5 essentials for a healthy relationship
  • 1: Open communication. One hallmark of a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate openly. ...
  • 2: Listening and feeling heard. Having someone listen to us and feeling heard is important. ...
  • 3: Working through disagreements. ...
  • 4: Mutual intimacy. ...
  • 5: Trust.

What is the most important lesson you learned in your last relationship? ›

02/6You come first

If nothing, this is one and the most important thing that you must learn from your past relationships. You should be your number one priority, no matter what anyone else says. Even if your partner is just as giving and loving as you are, you always should take good care of yourself.

What is the main importance of marriage? ›

Married people are both responsible for and responsible to another human being, and both halves of that dynamic lead the married to live more responsible, fruitful, and satisfying lives. Marriage is a transformative act, changing the way two people look at each other, at the future, and at their roles in society.

Why is it important to learn about marriage? ›

Marriage is the beginning—the beginning of the family—and is a life-long commitment. It also provides an opportunity to grow in selflessness as you serve your wife and children. Marriage is more than a physical union; it is also a spiritual and emotional union.

What are the four pillars of a strong marriage? ›

Safety, Faithfulness, Commitment and Reliability are 4 pillars of trust every marriage needs. If any one of these is missing, the roof starts caving in and the relationship starts to deteriorate. Marriages thrive when both partners feel safe and secure.

What are the 4 C's of marriage? ›

You need the 4 C's: Communication, Collaboration, Consideration, and Compatibility. Yet as with many things that are simple, they're not always easy! Let's look at how they work to help build a relationship.

What makes a man happy in marriage? ›

"Just being in a relationship and being committed to it, just showing up every day is an expression of [his] love," Chethik said. So what makes a man happy in a marriage? "Acceptance and appreciation. We want to be needed," he said.

What are the two biggest lessons you ve learned from your previous relationship? ›

Here are some of my biggest takeaways:
  • You come first. ...
  • Compromise is a two-way street. ...
  • Have discussions, not fights. ...
  • Family and friends matter. ...
  • Be yourself. ...
  • Be supported. ...
  • You deserve to be treated well. ...
  • Honesty and communication are essential to a good relationship.
Mar 17, 2017

What I learned from my failed marriage? ›

One of the greatest marriage lessons from most failed marriages is that relationships require work from both partners. Nonetheless, they shouldn't be hard all the time. Relationships are indeed complicated and are not always rainbows and butterflies. There are bumps in the road that will test your commitment and love.

What are deal breakers in a relationship? ›

Deal breakers are behaviors, values, and/or characteristics of a potential long term partner that you fundamentally disagree with. Deal breakers are useful tools to prevent potential unhealthy behaviors, unbalanced relationship roles, or potentially dangerous situations in your relationship.

What are the 2 most important things in a marriage? ›

Honesty and trust become the foundation for everything in a successful marriage. But unlike most of the other essentials on this list, trust takes time. You can become selfless, committed, or patient in a moment, but trust always takes time.

What is the main key in marriage? ›

Marriages take work, commitment, and love, but they also need respect to be truly happy and successful. A marriage based on love and respect doesn't just happen. Both spouses have to do their part.

What is the most important value in a marriage? ›

Trust is the first value on this list for a reason. “Without trust, there is no foundation for a marriage,” Ross says. Having faith in your partner is an essential ingredient for a healthy and happy relationship.

What are God's 3 purposes for marriage? ›

God has three purposes for marriage: companionship, procreation, and redemption. These purposes are still relevant today and are essential for a healthy society.


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