By Dr. Elaine Ducharme

As we enter the spring and summer wedding season, brides-to-be will be busy planning every detail. Venue, Flower arrangements, honeymoon options and even the guest list become high priorities for everyone. Happy couples rarely think that their marriage can fail. And yet, about 50 % of all first marriages do end in divorce. The percentages of failed marriages increase with each successive marriage.

So, today I wanted to discuss briefly the reasons marriages fail and make a few suggestions for maintaining a healthy relationship.

The biggest reasons marriages fail are related to finances, problem solving and communication and sex and children. It is really important for couple to discuss these topics before they tie the knot. Red flags, such as those listed below and that are rationalized and overlooked while dating can certainly lead to the breakdown of the marriage if not addressed

 The beginning of a relationship is when it should be the best. So if you are already fighting a lot, don’t assume getting married will fix the problem.
 Never ignore alcoholism or excessive alcohol consumption or illegal drug use, assuming it will get better after marriage. Without specific treatment, it will generally get worse.
 If there’s a history of violence and lots of conflict, fighting and arguing and jealousy it generally won’t get much better without counseling and anger management training..

I recommend that couples engage in premarital counseling. Some religions actually require this. Often, one to three sessions may be all that is needed to identify potential problems and figure out how to deal with them. Remember, you are marrying the person you you know, or think you know…not the person you hope they become. Don’t expect them to change. It may seem obvious but…if they are short they aren’t going to grow tall. If they are a slob, it may drive you crazy when the house is always cluttered. Marriage is about compromise. But, basic characteristics are hard to change without a lot of work. So, just make sure you know what you are getting into.
Here are some additional tips to help you maintain a healthy long term marriage:
 Listen to what your partner is saying…don’t be forming your rebuttal while they are talking…It is often better to feel heard than to be right.
 Know when to take a break…and then set a definite time to come back and discuss.
 Try to look at your partner’s view.
 Learn that you can agree to disagree.
 Don’t have major discussions when under the influence of alcohol.

My very best wishes to all the brides and grooms beginning their lives together
this summer.


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