Although most couples walk down the aisle with high hopes, not all marriages last forever. Certain behaviors or attitudes can erode the relationship over time. For the most part, though, there are some pretty specific things that break a marriage the fastest, according to a divorce attorney.
To learn more, Romper spoke with divorce attorney Christy Zlatkus, who has been practicing in divorce cases for about 10 years. As a professional who has worked with hundreds of couples going through the process of separation, Zlatkus has unique insight into marriages overall. There were certain themes that came up among the couples in pursuit of a divorce.
That said, most every marriage takes some work, and it's natural to experience disconnect from time to time. To make sure you and your spouse are communicating effectively, then seeing a marriage counselor may be helpful. Thankfully, effective communication is a skill that can be learned.
And even in the event of a separation, divorce isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the case of abuse within the relationship, separation may be the healthiest choice for everyone. (If you or a loved one is dealing with an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or 1−800−787−3224 for help.) And even in otherwise healthy relationships, occasionally partners decide to part ways for other reasons. Sometimes that's best. But for people who want to keep a marriage going for years and years, be aware of the common reasons for divorce.
1. Not Prioritizing Time Together
Spending time with the significant other appears to be crucial. "Make time for your spouse, or someone else will," Zlatkus says. If your schedule is packed, then there are some ways to make time for your partner when everyone is super busy, according to Bustle.
2. Treating Your Spouse Like A Child
Sometimes it can be difficult to turn off your "parent voice" after spending several hours wrangling kids. But for the most part, it's important to go into adult mode when communicating with your spouse. "Adults want — and deserve — to be treated as such," Zlatkus says. "Pro tip: If you wouldn't use that tone of voice with a colleague, don't use it with your spouse." Most adults want to feel like they have equal say in the relationship.
3. Not Listening
Those seemingly insignificant conversations about traffic or their favorite TV show really can matter. "Are you just hearing them, or really paying attention and engaging with your spouse when they talk to you?" Zlatkus says. "Little details about their day, their schedule, their goals, their wants — the little things make up the bulk of who we are." Thankfully, there are some ways to become a better listener if you (like me) struggle with this particular skill from time to time, according to Elite Daily.
4. Taking The Other Person For Granted
Most everyone needs a little help now and then. "Assuming your spouse is on the ball can translate to them feeling taken for granted," Zlatkus says. If one partner does all the cooking, for instance, then the other one could offer to make dinner (or get take-out) a couple times a week. It's a way of helping the other partner and offering them a break every now and then.
5. Not Taking Complaints Seriously
Complaints can be serious in a relationship. "If leaving your socks on the floor or forgetting to fill up the gas tank until you're on E is driving your spouse absolutely bonkers, decide to make tidying or filling up a priority. Or if you and your spouse agreed that you would both work full-time after your children are in kindergarten and one spouse changes their mind, this has to be a negotiation, not a dictatorship," Zlatkus says. "Not taking complaints seriously is this single factor brings more couples with young children into my office than any other." It's a lot of work, sure, but avoiding the things that can wreck a marriage may help you and your partner enjoy a lasting relationship.