Why Do Marriages Fall Apart?

Portrait of sad mature woman against elderly man with newspaper in home interior

Why do marriages fall apart? As couples, most of us start out with differences but we assume we’ll be able to work them out or they just aren’t that important. We may even realize we don’t know absolutely everything about the person we decided to marry, so we may discover differences we didn’t know about. But we certainly didn’t think we would have irreconcilable differences. If we did, none of us would have ever married in the first place! An irreconcilable difference is any sort of difference where two parties cannot or will not change in order to come together.

Marriages start with differences we know about and differences we don’t know about. Then, as time passes, yet another component is thrown in: change. What changes? Life itself changes and is ever changing. Our circumstances change. We have children, we make or lose money, we move closer to or away from family.

Our perspectives change. We become more or less conservative, more or less spiritually oriented. Our bodies change. Our atti- tudes change. Our hobbies, interests, careers, passions—almost everything about us changes. In fact, as John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life.” Change is the one thing you can count on to be constant.

And change is good, right? You wouldn’t want to stay frozen in time and remain the same person you were in your teens. Change is about growing and maturing and expanding our horizons. Sometimes, couples do this growing and expanding together. But sometimes the changes that two individuals go through lead them farther apart. Let’s take a look at a specific case study.