Intersection of Life and Faith

20 Reasons Marriages Fail (Christian Marriages, Too)

  • Sue Schlesman Contributing Writer
20 Reasons Marriages Fail (Christian Marriages, Too)
Marriages fail for many reasons and often from a combination of reasons. Any of the issues listed here should give cause for concern and care. Unaddressed personal and spiritual issues will affect both partners, even if one is unaware or innocent. If you're wondering why your marriage is failing, this list may have the answer.

While there is little difference between Christian and non-Christian marital woes, a Christ-follower has the power to recognize issues in the light of God’s Word and experience the transforming power of His Spirit. Marital bliss is fictional, but marital happiness can be a reality.

Here are 20 reasons why marriages (even Christian marriages) fail...

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    1. Unforgiving Spirit

    Slide 1 of 20

    Learn to extend forgiveness because it’s critical to harmony. Instead of obsessing about how you’ve been wronged, treat your spouse how God treats you. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    2. Financial Pressure

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    Don’t spend your life trying to earn more and spend more, or you will enslave yourself to a life of dissatisfaction, materialism, and endless stress. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    3. Infidelity

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    Lust always leads to infidelity of the heart, mind, and body. No sexual experience outside of marriage is okay. God will never lead you to fall in love with someone other than your spouse. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    4. Insecurity and Worry

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    Take your eyes off the world and its illusion of happiness; you will never find peace from anyone or anything the world offers you. Trust in the Lord. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.” (Matthew 6:32-33)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    5. Secret Sins

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    If you hide a sinful fantasy or habit, it will grow stronger; pretending something doesn’t exist or isn’t wrong gives it greater power over your life. “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” (Psalm 90:8)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    6. Parenting Differences

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    The Bible is the best parenting source available; seek to follow Christ and point your kids toward Christ, and parenting details will fall into place. “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    7. Interference from Others

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    Dysfunctional or controlling relatives and friends will put tremendous pressure on your family unit; seek God’s wisdom and perspective about how to handle your decisions. Then draw necessary boundaries with everyone outside God’s will for your life. “Respect one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    8. Selfishness

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    We all look out for ourselves, especially when someone challenges our desires. Begin considering your spouse’s perspective first; winning an argument only weakens your marriage. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:23)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    9. Entitlement

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    Self-pity, disillusionment, and frustration come from an “I-deserve-this” attitude. Watch for these feelings—the core problem is self-worship. “You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    10. Spiritual and Emotional Immaturity

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    Maturity takes a lifetime, so give your spouse room to grow without ridiculing or reprimanding for him/her for immaturity. Surround your marriage with godly, mature role models. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” (Philippians 3:14-15)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    11. Grief and Depression

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    Everyone goes through periods of grief and sadness; be supportive and understanding when your spouse is sad, by gently guiding him/her toward help. “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” (Psalm 31:9)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    12. Greed

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    You were created to be satisfied only in God’s presence. Don’t feed grief because the things you want will not satisfy you. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:13)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    13. Shame

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    God’s Spirit convicts us when we sin; He doesn’t shame us for our mistakes. Embrace that fact that Jesus’ grace will set you free from the shame you feel. “I live in disgrace all day long and my face is covered with shame.” (Psalm 44:15)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    14. Anger

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    If you have a short fuse, you need to find out why and stop making excuses. Get help to overcome this destructive and addictive habit. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    15. Dishonesty

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    Never lie, mislead, or deceive your spouse; don’t keep secrets because it will drive a wedge between you. Plus, one falsehood always births another one. “Do not lie to each other.” (Colossians 3:9)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    16. Worldliness

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    When your hearts pines for recognition, wealth, and beauty, you will believe that your worth is attached to who you are and what you do; and the more you doubt your worth, the more you will find your spouse to be unsatisfactory. “Teaching us, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” (Titus 2:12)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    17. Pride

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    Here lies the root of all conflict, insecurities, and sin. So instead of thinking about yourself, spend your energy and love by giving your spouse grace and love. “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found with those who take advice.” (Proverbs 13:10)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    18. Disappointment

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    When hard times hit, you might feel that your spouse has not done enough to make you happy. Take a look at where you place your hope; if it’s not God, you will continually struggle with disappointment. Start praising God for all His provision, and your disappointment will vanish. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    19. Different Priorities/Value System

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    You and your spouse may have live by opposite standards, which can cause contention and frustration. Try to remember that God holds you accountable for your actions; live your life and don’t focus on what your spouse is doing or not doing. “How can a young person stay on a path to purity? By living according to your word? I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” (Psalm 119:10-11)

  • 1. Unforgiving Spirit

    20. Self-image

    Slide 20 of 20

    If you suffer from low self-esteem, the solution is not to love yourself more—it’s to love God and thank Him for His ongoing work in your life. Let God transform you into His image; embrace your process, instead of comparing yourself to others. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)

    Sue Schlesman is a Christian writer, teacher, and speaker. Her blogs, fiction, and non-fiction reach a wide audience. You can find her philosophizing about life, education, family, and Jesus at and