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When you were standing at the alter with your husband or wife to be, this line of thinking was not going through your head: “I wonder how much my divorce is going to cost?”

That’s insane, right? You’re thinking about the adventures you’re going to have…the family that you will grow together, the places you will go together.

What happened? The wedding day was so full of excitement and joy. Why is it that just a few short years later we are ready to throw the towel in on our marriages? Where did we disconnect?

I mean think about it. When you were dating, she was the most amazing thing in the world. You could not wait to see her.  He could do no wrong; you were his biggest fan.  What happened?  Was it just one day the attraction stopped? I don’t think it happens like that. I think it’s a slow fade.

Here are a few things that I think cause our marriages to fall apart.

1. Unmet Expectations  

So we all have expectations in life. We think things should go a certain way, and they don’t. You know what I’m talking about. We all plan stuff in our minds and dream about how a day or an event is going to go, and when it goes south or goes a direction we were not thinking or planning on, we tend to get upset.

This happens in marriages every day. Men and women both set expectations and, sadly, don’t communicate those expectations. We tend to think the other person should automatically know what we want or need. But they don’t! We need to communicate and talk about what we are expecting and be willing to have some give and take in our expectations. Look at this verse, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

Make Christ the center point of your marriage. When both parties are looking to Jesus as the founder and perfecter of their lives, we have less reason to disagree. This means BOTH parties are chasing Jesus, not their personal expectations.  So therefore, if an expectation does not get met, we put our own “rights” to death and put the other person’s needs ahead of our own. Just think how this alone would transform our marriages.

2. Laziness

Yes, both parties can, over time, get lazy.  Just think how much effort and time you put into wowing your girl when you were dating.  You planned out your dates, in hopes of making her just look at you in awe and wonder.  When she was looking at purses, you stuck by her like glue and ACTED interested.  When she asked “What do you think?” you actually gave her a response that showed you were interested in her.

When you were dating, you took time to look and smell good. But for some reason, both parties seem to get a lazy mindset and just stop trying to look attractive for one another.  When you were dating, both of you did your best to look your best. That needs to be something that still happens in your marriage. Don’t get lazy.

3. You Stop Paying Attention 

When you were first dating your spouse you paid attention to their likes and dislikes, and if they said something like “I really like (fill in the blank),” you paid attention, and you took mental notes and went back and bought it later, and then in a fun way you surprised them with (fill in the blank) thing. But somewhere along the line you stopped paying attention. When you stop paying attention to details you make the other person not feel as valuable as they once were. Try paying attention again and see how that goes.  LISTEN! And then DO!

4. You Stopped Flirting

When you first noticed your spouse, you went out of your way to flirt with them.  You pursued them, you did things that made them feel like they were the most valued person in your life.  Somewhere along your journey together you stopped flirting.  It is never a bad idea to pursue and flirt with your spouse!  It’s never a bad idea to make your spouse feel special and valued.

The moment you destroyed your marriage was the moment you stopped working on it.

Here is the thing, your marriage is going to take work. It’s going to take BOTH of you doing the above things plus maybe a few more things to actually make it work.  Coasting is never an option.  You both have to be engaged and working to put the other person FIRST!  I’ve never seen a marriage fall apart if both people in the marriage are striving to put the other person first!  It always will work!

Look at this verse:

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). 

I think if we lived this verse out, we’d have less divorces and more anniversary parties.