May 2017
In This Issue


Quote of the Month

Featured Article: The real reasons behind most failed marriages

End Notes

Immerse yourself in dating and relationship news. Read the coach's "Relationship News and All That Blog.

The Art of Intimacy
A Newsletter for those seeking relationship help.

The value of the personal relationship to all things is that it creates intimacy
and intimacy creates understanding and understanding creates love. - Anais Nin


No one gets married with the thought that it may not work out, right? OK this may happen very rarely, but most people view this as a "one and done" choice they are making. Yet over 45% of marriages end in divorce; often leaving the individuals with little or no understanding of why/how their relationship failed, which can lead to them repeating history in a second marriage. Though this is a topic that has been discussed and written about with some frequency, the rate of couples being blind-sided by irreconcilable issues has not decreased. Therefore, I'm going to take a run at it based on years of experience working with marriages that are in trouble. Read on for my thoughts and advice on this life impacting topic.

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Quote of the Month

"I don't want to be married just to be married. I can't think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can't talk to, or worse, someone I can't be silent with." --Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Featured Article: The real reasons behind most failed marriages

Much attention has been given to the topic of why marriages fail. Everyone wants to know what warning signs to look out for and where they should focus their attention in order to avoid becoming an unhappy statistic. But in spite of all the available advice, the divorce rate remains high and those in struggling marriages keep wondering how they got there.

The primary reasons people divorce trace back to early in their relationships, to a time long before they said "I do." From those first dates, through courtship and engagement, and long past the honeymoon, until they grew into issues that became deal breakers. Therefore the most important key to not becoming a divorce statistic is to know yourself first and what you want and need from a potential partner and relationship. This readiness will help you make conscious and well thought out choices beginning with who you should date, through commitment and beyond. The following are top contributors to why marriages fail. Give them careful thought and honestly ask yourself, "Is this or could this be me, and if so; what can I do differently?"

Marrying your convenient partner

Too many marriages start with a relationship of convenience. A classic example of this is when two people who are dating decide it would save time, energy, and money to live together. It could be that they live in the same area and one moves in with the other or they find a new place to share; or they could live at some distance from one another and one makes the decision to relocate. Any of these steps in an investment in the relationship that makes breaking-up more complicated. With every investment this is true, and too often a divorcing spouse cites convenience as a reason they got together and stayed together, even when there were indicator lights warning them to slow down or take a break.

Checking the marriage box

Our culture tells us that we need to have goals and a plan that includes a time frame for achieving them. Few people would argue against the merits of having a life vision and setting goals to help us get there. However some people pursue their goals at any and all costs. For them, life is a series of boxes that need to be checked, and when the pressure of one's peers checking a certain box before them is added on, it can lead to a bad decision. Create goals that are uniquely tailored to you and keep your eyes on the road that lies ahead, avoiding those sideways and backwards glances to see what others are doing. Do you really want to live someone else's idea of a good life?

Ignoring the warning signs

How many times have you observed something in a friend's relationship that set off an alarm? Perhaps you wondered if you should discuss your observations and concerns with them because they seemed unaware or too accepting of something unhealthy. Many people ignore issues in their relationship, rationalizing that they may be overreacting, expecting perfection, and/or are afraid to address them for fear of losing the relationship. Too often there is a belief that something will go away if we ignore it, or at least lessen over time. The opposite is often true in relationships. Those small red flags, annoyances, doubts, and/or moments of concern are often what people cite when they are on their way to divorce. They saw something, but did nothing.


Every day people bring assumptions and expectations to the altar along with their wedding vows. They might assume their partner wants children, a house in the suburbs, and a family-centered life. They feel sure that he or she is on the same page regarding how money should be handled, how involved extended family will be, and what religious practices will be observed, if any. Then after marriage little issues start to bubble to the surface that lead to frustration, problems with communication, increased conflict, and/or a decrease in their friendship and intimate life. They are often shocked to find out that a partner feels differently about something they always assumed they felt the same way about, since it never came up in conversation and wasn't an issue earlier on in the relationship. This was not at all what they expected from their partner and marriage.

This is why it is so important to know yourself and to ask questions and have those deep discussions about your relationship and family wants, needs, and goals before marriage. These should begin early in your dating life, and continue throughout your engagement and marriage. When red flags appear or something feels off, talk about it. If you can't do so before marriage, it will be even harder afterwards. Who and when to marry will be one of the most important decisions of your life. Following a conscious and well thought-out path that is uniquely yours will give you the best chance of marrying the right person for you.

End Notes

The vast majority of people have the desire to be married one day. Most can't imagine divorce ever being in their future. They believe that if they check all the right boxes like getting an education, finding a suitable career, and choosing someone to marry who is acceptable and meets the basic requirements--that happiness and good fortune will follow. Having a plan and a good foundation on which to build a marriage is important--but nothing is as important as choosing the right person. They might be great, just not great for you.

If you would like more direct help with finding or building a relationship--email us at We have a lot of experience helping people to achieve relationship readiness, attract their right kind of person, and take the steps to build a lasting, successful union. Feel free to browse through and read the many columns, articles, quizzes and videos available there. We look forward to hearing from you and offering any assistance we can.


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


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