Catholic Husband

Love, Lead, Serve

Why Marriages Fail

Child's train tracks on a play table

One of the main roles in the household for husbands is to take care of all of the little details when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. Oil changes, washing the car, lawn care, shoveling snow, and other associated tasks all fall within our purview. These are the tasks that we do for our wives. They aren't fun and they aren't glamorous, but we do them anyway.

We take these small annoyances off of her plate so that she can focus on other things, likely more important things. It's pleasant to think about that fact that she doesn't have to deal with the details of these mechanical tasks. When we complete them, she feels cared for. While it's somewhat instinctual that we take the lead on mechanical tasks, I believe there's something bigger at play.

When we look out across the marital landscape today, it’s plain to see that there's an overabundance of failed marriages. While there are certainly legitimate cases in which a marriage was never valid to begin with, or where a spouse lives in constant fear for their own safety and wellbeing, I believe that the root cause of failed marriages is innate selfishness. In a way, it's reflective of our times. We've slowly turned in on ourselves and, as a result, we've taken our gaze off of the horizon and lowered it to our own pathetically small world.

Selfishness kills marriages because it's the antithesis of marriage. Matrimony is a Sacrament about total donation of self to the other: body, mind, and spirit. It's a Sacrament that binds two into one, that calls for an openness to life and lends itself to properly raising children. Selfishness in marriage takes many seemingly ordinary forms: career, financial, adultery, substance abuse, and withholding. The interesting thing is that they all have the same capacity to destroy a marriage. A workaholic can destroy their marriage just as easily as an alcoholic. It's the same root problem: selfishness.

We're naturally selfish; it comes from our instinctual need to survive. Yet, in our marriage, arguably the safest, most stable relationship in our lives, we need to counter that selfishness. We need to be proactively seeking out ways to serve our wives, to make their lives easier, and to take small annoyances off of their plate.

There are many great things that you already do to make your wife's life easier, but today I want to challenge all of us to go even further. Consciously seek out ways each day to remove another annoyance from her life. Over time, you'll find your marriage is strengthened as you reduce your own selfishness and increase your love and fidelity.
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