3 Common Mistakes that Can End Your Marriage

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on 3 Common Mistakes that Can End Your Marriage

Almost all of us have heard people comment about marriage counseling, saying something like, “We went to marriage counseling but it didn’t work.” These people usually split up or remain married… unhappily.  

But why? Why didn’t it work?

In most cases, they made some common relationship missteps.

Consider these 3 mistakes to avoid if you want your relationship to succeed:

1. Too little too late

People often wait way too long, usually years, before seeking professional help to improve their relationship. A lot of times they wait because they hope problems will resolve themselves or eventually go away. Other times, their fears about counseling delay getting the help they need. So, what happens? Problems that really aren’t impossible to fix become increasingly difficult to deal with as time goes by.  

Unfortunately, many couples wind up waiting until they’re at their breaking point before they seek help. By the time they get into counseling, they’re desperate to escape their ocean of hurt and resentment. So, they give up too soon on the relationship when they realize their problems cannot be immediately fixed. They simply do not have the patience to stick with the counseling process, or put in the necessary time or effort.

Often, people forget that it likely took years to reach this unhappy point in their relationship. And though it won’t take years, it will take some time to address their issues and see some positive changes.

Also, some people express uncertainty regarding whether counseling will work, as though they don’t have any control over whether or not counseling is successful. It’s important to remember that you are not passive participants in the process. While you can’t control your partner, you can control your own involvement in the process.

Seeking a counselor’s help sooner rather than later, as well as putting in significant time and effort, will be a definite benefit to your relationship. From there, the odds are very good that counseling will be a success. You may be surprised at how relatively quickly things can change once a commitment to counseling is made.

2. It’s you, not me

Often times, we do focus excessively on how our partner has contributed to the current state of marital affairs. We are aware of the other person’s faults and can articulate pretty clearly what they’re doing wrong. We tend to pay a lot less attention to how we contribute to the situation. Why?

It just comes down to emotional self-preservation.

It’s easier to think about what others have done to us instead of contemplating how we may have made a mess of things. Also, it’s a lot less distressing to put that responsibility on someone else’s shoulders than carry the burden ourselves.

Of course, each person is 50% of the relationship. Whatever is going on is never strictly one person’s fault. This doesn’t mean that the contributions to the problems are 50/50, but the point is, each person contributes to the problems in some way, shape, or form. Accepting this truth will help you become a better person and a better partner.

3. Assumptions about greener grass

If you are unhappy in a relationship, it’s easy to get caught up in finding relief from the pain. You may think that leaving or finding someone new will make you feel better and remove the need to deal with what’s going on. Thus, you develop the belief that it might be easier to walk away than to stay and work it out.

People often aren’t prepared for the costs, physical, emotional, and financial, that come with dissolving a relationship. Walking away is not always as easy a path as you may think it will be. It is time-consuming and taxing on both parties. If kids are involved, ending the relationship is that much more complex.

Furthermore, unless you get a handle on the problems in your marriage and resolve them, the same issues will likely follow you into your new relationships. While you may or may not be able to save your marriage, you’ll do well to take the time to determine what went wrong and fully understand your contribution to the situation before moving on.


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