Marriageis an important stage in life. Once two people tie the knot, theybecome one. It is a structure that operates within certain principlesthat cannot be altered. In that respect, when people marry, theyought to stand by the guidelines to make the relationship stable.Effectance, forgiveness, intimacy, and commitment are the coreelements of any marriage. In the current world, the quality ofmarriages has deteriorated due to lack of commitment and forgivinghearts. Marriage has become more like a contract that can beterminated. According to statistics, the rate of single parenthood iscontinually rising. Most of the single parents think it is mucheasier to cater for the family needs without necessarily involvingthe other party. In this paper, we will look at some of the reasonswhy marriages fail.
Itis the responsibility of couples to make their marriages work.However, they need counseling on how to manage their relationships toliving healthy lifestyles. Counselors have been encouraged to use aChristian approach towards counseling to exemplify God’s will formarriages. It does not please God when a married couple opts todivorce. Additionally, putting God as the bedrock of the marriagecreates a bond that cannot be easily swayed.
Oneof the most frequently asked questions is the reason why marriagesfail. According to Linda Berg-Cross, unhappy spouses possess someself-defeating means of thinking about themselves as well as theirpartners. Sociologically focused therapists usually point to thechanging social trends like childbearing and expectations of thesociety. A psychodynamic counselor points to the destructive aspectsof childhood replicated in marriages. The pastoral therapist affirmsthat spouses who do not experience self-fulfillment by trust andcommitment will continue to disconnect and feel less love. The aboveaspects are important to examine the reasons why marriages fail.
Accordingto Worthington, the structure of a relationship comprises ofintimacy, forgiveness, commitment, and effectance. Love, care,respect and meeting each other’s needs are core to establishingintimacy. As stated in 1st Corinthians 13, the core element for anyChristian is love. Marriages fail to prosper due to lack of intimacy.Effectance is another element that involves serving each other byundertaking our duties diligently.
Thehierarchical design of marriages is necessary for it to stay healthy.For instance, children must obey their parents and husbands shouldlove their wives. On the other hand, women ought to be submissive totheir spouses. These elements are contained in the Bible and shouldbe followed to ensure the family remains stable. Attempts todisregard the responsibilities lead to wrangle in the marriage thatcan break the relationship. Commitment is another element that oughtto be practiced in marriage.
Onceone of the spouses ceases to commit in the relationship, divorce isthe most likely outcome. With the advancements across the globe,marriages have suffered due to lack of commitment and responsibility.Some spouses have taken advantage of women empowerment to disregardthe God-given instructions. Misperceptions of the actual meaning ofempowerment have caused deterioration of marriages. Forgiveness isquite essential for marriage to survive. God forgives us all the timewe ask for cleansing. This should be the case in marriages. However,many couples lack the forgiving spirit hence leading to deteriorationof marriages.
LindaBerg’s integrative technique suggests a marriage model based onfour elements: self-fulfillment, adaptability, social support, andresiliency. The core areas that result in marital issues includeanger management, parenting conflicts, in-laws, sexualdissatisfaction, depression, domestic violence, and work pressures.In her assertion, addressing the above issues can strengthenmarriages.
Accordingto this model, couples must have the self-fulfillment value. Bothparties are involved in making each other feel satisfied. Thiselement suggests that one should be happy and satisfied in marriage.All the desires and ambitions are fulfilled. It is the responsibilityof a partner to satisfy the desires of the other subject. In additionto that, couples ought to be contented with what they have. Sometimesa partner may be over-anticipating his/her marriage. Maybe he/she istrying to imitate another couple. However, each partnership is uniqueand has distinctive challenges.
Thepartners must, therefore, feel satisfied in their marriages toprevent it from crumbling. Adaptability is also key to maintaining amarriage. It entails the ability to change or be modified to suit thesituation or even work better. Marriage is a structure that isflexible enough to accommodate each other. According to science,couples tend to look alike as they spend more time in marriage. Inother words, they get used to each other to an extent that theycomplement each other with ease. The adaptability feature is quiteessential in maintaining a successful marriage.
Ifa spouse cannot stand his/her partner’s behavior, success inmarriage in difficult. Couples should also try to be adaptable i.e.they should be ready to alter their bad behaviors that could lead todisharmony. Social support is another vital component. It entailssupport from family members, neighbors, and the entire society as awhole. If for instance, one of the partners is not appreciated by thein-laws, it may bring problems to the couple. Apart from that, if thesociety is against marriage, chances of survival are quite minute.
Thoughit seems hard to please the entire community, it is important to havetheir backing. Resiliency is another fundamental element. It is theability of couples to stay intact. Challenges are quite common inmarriages. They emanate from different places and may injuremarriages adversely. However, the relationship must have some degreeof resilience to stand against the tides. It is quite easy formarriages to crumble if the couple does not exercise element ofresistance.
Angermanagement is a standard-issue the counselors deal with in their lineof duty. People have varying behaviors and tend to develop anger asthe marriage life progresses. Couples get angry at each otherfrequently as times go by. Therefore, counselors should have adequateskills to assist the spouses to manage their anger. Conflictsregarding parenting are common among many families. A partner mayaccuse his/her spouse of neglecting the parental duties. Such eventscan result in violence that deteriorates the family relations.
Workpressures also make partners accord limited time to family matters.It can also lead to sexual problems whereby one of the partners isnot satisfied. With sex being an important element in marriage,dissatisfactions related to its causes wrangles within therelationship. The in-laws are another common problem in marriages. Ifthe in-laws dislike one of the partners, it may cause depressionsamong other detrimental impacts. In general, counselors deal with thevast amount of cases. They have to be well acclimatized to all theissues for them to offer substantial guidance to the couples. Thefour cornerstones mentioned above are essential to the counselors.
Approachingmarriage counseling from a Christian angle has benefited many couplesand counselors alike. A good counseling session ought to be dividedinto three phases, i.e. assessment, intervention, and termination.During the first step, the counselor examines the couple tounderstand where the problem lies. After the assessment, thetherapist encourages the spouses to form a working alliance.
Therapyrequires cooperation from all the parties involved. In the evaluationphase, the counselor also devises mechanisms that suit the clients.He/she can set goals and state the required changes. After that, thetherapist helps the couple to implement the changes hoping they wouldmake an impact. Once the two phases have been completed successfully,termination follows. At this stage, the counselor tries to encouragethe partners to embrace commitment. They must be committed to themarriage for it to be successful. Joining and assessing the marriage,setting objectives, and collecting feedback is intertwined incounseling.
Asillustrated by Worthington, Christian teachings are necessary withinthe counseling profession. The first marriage was exemplified in theGarden of Aden when God joined Adam and Eve. However, the currentglobe does not portray God’s will regarding marriage. Thoughchallenges have increased, it does not mean the depiction of marriageshould change. It is now upon the church through counseling to bringback the meaning of marriage.
Berg-Cross, L. (2001). Couples therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Haworth Clinical Practice Press.
Christensen, N. S. (1996). Integrative Cople Therapy: Promoting Acceptance and Change. New York: W.W. Norton.
Worthington Jr., E. (1993). Marriage counseling: a Christian approach to counseling couples. IVP Academic.