Why Marriages Fail


The Justice Department’s 2012-13 annual report clearly shows that South Africans can’t work through their matrimonial struggles – with divorce figures up by 28% to 50 517 cases from from 39 573.

One would think that the most common cause for couples parting ways was infidelity; however Health24 readers tell a different story.

These readers share their experience:

1. “We sleep in separate rooms”

After being married for 6 months, this couple decided to sleep in separate rooms. The wife says that she doesn’t get enough rest when she sleeps next to someone, but her husband is tired of having to sleep alone at night. He says that he cannot keep walking to another room when he feels like being intimate with his wife, and that this could mean the end of their marriage.

2. “71-years-old and considering divorce due to finances”

After 35 years of marriage this woman is contemplating divorce on account of financial woes. She retired 15 years ago and has since been receiving money on a monthly basis from her husband’s business. Recently, however, her husband claims that his business has taken a dip, and therefore also her income. She hasn’t received any proof from him on their financial status, despite her request for this. She is responsible for their day-to-day household expenses, but cannot make ends meet. Should she end the marriage?

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3. “In-laws messing up our marriage”

Almost every couple experiences the difficulty with the in-laws. Either they are deliberately nasty or they just get too involved. In this couple’s case, the presence of the in-laws changes the way their son behaves around his wife.

A Health24 user writes:

“Every time my husband’s family visits us, he treats me badly. He ignores me, doesn’t greet me or doesn’t drink the coffee I make for him etc. When I try to speak to him about this, he tells me I’m imagining things, but I know this is not the case because he is the complete opposite when they are not around.”

“It also irritates me that his family visits us uninvited and cut me out of the conversations when we are together. They make me feel unwelcome in my own home.”

This woman is fed up with her husband’s family and feel’s that her marriage may end as a result of it.

Tips for a successful marriage

We asked the experts and got their advice on how couples can avoid these common problems:


According to Money Rates, a personal finance and investment website, couples can find financial harmony by applying the following tips:

– Arrange regular times to talk about money, and to draw up a budget that both partners agree on.
– Respect each partner’s contribution. Your spouse’s contribution shouldn’t affect how you treat them.
– Divide financial tasks – don’t let just one person carry the financial burdern, take turns to manage the money.
– Set common goals – building toward a shared goal, for example an emergency savings account, can help couples function more like a team.


In a healthy relationship, sex should be a loving and caring act that binds partners together, and regardless of how difficult the situation is, sexual dynamics and issues should be openly discussed within the relationship. Psychotherapist Dr Tanya Robinson says that communication should be the start of resolving sexual problems, but it should be balanced with attempting to remain intimate. She says that when couples talk about their sexual needs it is important for each spouse to be understanding and non-judgmental.

Top tips for a healthy relationship

These tips can help you nurture a loving marriage:

– Give your spouse space to be an individual, without jealousy.
– Share responsibilities to avoid one partner feeling overwhelmed.
– Communicate and listen attentively to your partner’s opinion and remember what the other person is saying.
– Present a united front to the children to avoid disrespect.



News24; MoneyRates; Health24

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