Breaking the pattern of failed marriages | A roadmap to lasting partnerships

By Jennifer Nurick

Marriage, often seen as the pinnacle of a romantic relationship, can sometimes become a cycle of mistakes and heartaches for those who find themselves repeating patterns leading to failed relationships.

However, there is hope. With self-awareness, understanding, and actionable steps, it’s possible to break the cycle and foster a lasting, healthy marriage. Here’s a guide to changing the narrative and breaking the pattern of failed marriages.

Understanding the root cause

The first step in breaking the cycle is to understand what’s causing it. Often, failed marriages stem from unresolved personal issues, unmet expectations, or the repetition of unhealthy relationship dynamics learned in childhood. Seek to understand these underlying causes. Two wonderful ways to do this is through individual exploration and healing using Internal Family Systems (IFS) and through couple therapy using Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).

Awareness of personal patterns

Recognise the patterns in your past relationships. Are there common issues that arise, such as communication breakdowns, infidelity, or incompatibility in life goals? Once you identify these patterns, you can begin to address them directly.

Building an inner secure attachment

A healthy relationship is made of two whole individuals who have a secure inner attachment. This means that when a part of one person is triggered, they can care for the part of them that got triggered and not rely on the other person to take care of their wounded or reactive parts. This is where IFS therapy can be incredibly helpful.

Communication skills

Strong communication is the bedrock of a successful marriage. Learning to express your thoughts and feelings openly, honestly, and respectfully can prevent many common marital problems. Communication breakdowns are most effectively repatterned through couple therapy that focuses on building the attachment bond between the couple.

Emotional intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence is critical. This includes being able to manage your emotions, understanding your partner’s emotional world, and navigating conflicts with empathy. Emotional intelligence allows for deeper connections and a more profound understanding between partners.

Choosing the right partner

The choice of whom to marry is as important as the decision to marry itself. Look for a partner who shares your core values, life goals, and commitment to working through difficulties. Be wary of red flags and do not ignore them, thinking that things will change after marriage.

Learning from the past

Instead of burying the past, learn from it. Reflect on your previous marriages and understand what went wrong and why. Apply these lessons to future relationships to avoid making the same mistakes.

Healthy boundaries

Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is essential. Boundaries help protect your well-being and create mutual respect. Be clear about your non-negotiables in a relationship, ensure your partner understands and respects them and discuss them before you decide to get married.

Therapy and counselling

Do not underestimate the power of professional help. Premarital counselling and ongoing therapy can be instrumental in laying a strong foundation and maintaining the health of your marriage.

Avoiding the rush

Do not rush into another marriage. Take the time to know your partner and understand the dynamics of your relationship. Time reveals patterns, behaviours, and compatibility like nothing else can.

Nurturing the relationship

A marriage is like a garden; it needs constant nurturing. This means regular check-ins with your partner, date nights, and quality time together. Keep the romance alive, and always show appreciation for each other.

Commitment to growth

Commit to personal and relational growth. Attend workshops, read books, and stay curious about ways to enhance your relationship. Growing together can create a bond that is difficult to break.

Building a support network

Having a strong support network can be a lifesaver for any marriage. Cultivate relationships with friends and family who support your marriage and can offer guidance and perspective.

Breaking the pattern of failed marriages isn’t an overnight fix, but with intentionality, it’s achievable. By understanding the root causes of past failures, actively working on personal development, and consciously choosing a suitable partner, a cycle of unhappy endings can transform into a legacy of love and commitment. It’s about taking control of your happiness and recognising that the change begins with you. Remember, the goal is not just to avoid another failed marriage, but to build one that is fulfilling and enduring.

About the author

Jennifer Nurick (Jen) specialised in healing anxious attachment, attachment injuries and childhood trauma. She is a licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Couple Counsellor, Energetic Healer, author and host of the Psychotherapy Central podcast.

She is the founder and voice of Psychotherapy Central and a Director of the International Energetic Healing Association. She has been working in the healing space for over 20 years, combining spiritual psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Focusing, and EMDR therapy. She offers transformational courses to help individuals and couples heal trauma and build secure long-term relationships.

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