Why do marital crises occur?

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Today’s person enters into marriage in the belief that he/she makes it out of love and expects his/her life to be better and happier.

Women usually want to have a spouse who:

  • loves them;
  • respects them;
  • cherishes them;
  • to be with them in difficult times;
  • to support them and to comfort them.


Men say they want to have a woman who:

  • to keep watch over their needs;
  • to love their strength and their body;
  • considers them full of wisdom.


Usually, if the marriage is consumed in its entirety (the spouses share a common life, intimacy and care for the household), the chance to preserve the idea of a better life after marriage is realized for a longer period of time. However, if the expectations are not met, this is obvious in the very first few months and the couple seeks to adapt as everyone starts to make sacrifices and compromises. At the end of the first year the differences between the partners are already clearly declared, everyone has stated how much of “their” territory he may cede and whether it is acceptable for his ego. People who have high self-esteem and high expectations of the partner usually get frustrated more frequently and fall into the trap of the crisis of the first year. This crisis is also called “the crisis of unfulfilled expectations.”


If in the family appears a child – this directs the care and energy to the new family member. The man and woman feel satisfied with the sense of executed duty. The family rearranges in favor of the new family structure and the roles of the two spouses are already clearly differentiated. However, if these roles do not meet the hopes and visions of family happiness – here you are in the maelstrom of the second marriage crisis – the crisis of the third year. The child has swallowed the attention and the love of the woman-mother, the sex life has lost its original attractiveness, the everyday life does not bring diversity, it is possible the partners to look for erotic incentives and intimacy outside the marriage. Studies show that 25% of the married couples fantasize about extramarital intimate relationships during the first 18 months from the joint life. Infidelity is the most common cause for break-ups and divorces in this early stage of the marital relationship.


The third crisis is the period when the first child in the family enters the puberty. Depending on when it occurred – it could be after 7, 10 or 15 years after entry into marriage. Then the two spouses have already accomplished their professional intentions or are in the midst of making a career. Childcare does not take so much time and responsibilities, and the personal freedom becomes more stable and each believes “he has a right to privacy”, i.e. “little secrets” that can turn into extramarital affairs.


And the next trap is the so-called “crisis of the empty nest” – when the spouses remain alone without commitments to children, where the professional road comes to an end and the common interests are greatly reduced.


Sociologists studying marital relations prove that the divorce most often happens to couples who have:

  • short acquaintance before the marriage;
  • one of the partners is incriminated for infidelity;

The two partners are from different social circles and therefore do not share common values about marriage and family. They have different expectations and attitudes toward marital roles and are raised in different styles of matrimony.


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