What is wrong?
Anne Roiphe wrote a blog post, “Why Marriages Fail,” found on blog.sina.com and published by SINA Cooperation stating her argument on why marriages fail. This post contains information on why this century lacks everlasting happy ever afters. Roiphe states that poor communication, entrapment, and lack of self-control in a marriage will cause the marriage to fail.
In Roiphe’s post, she mentions poor communication being a frequent reason for why marriages fail. Roiphe mentions that to have a successful marriage, both partners must feel free to share what is on their mind or else the consequences may be extreme. She states, “Anger builds up until it erupts into a volcanic burst that buries the marriage in ash” (Roiphe, 2006). This metaphor relates a poor communication marriage to a volcano; if one partner feels they are not being heard, then, eventually, the marriage will fail. She uses the familiar reference of a volcano to express the importance of having communication and uses this extreme example to show how passionate she feels about this point. A psychotherapist, laboratory collaborator, and a psychoanalytic professor all agree with Roiphe. Their study proved “Communication with a partner was positively and statistically associated with marital benefit” (Gourounti, Lykeridou, & Vaslamatzis, 2012). The belief that communication will benefit a marriage shows that Roiphe is right to assume that poor communication would be the downfall of marriage versus the saving grace. She stresses the importance of communication so that one “will not impose on each other roles and actions that lead to further unhappiness” (Roiphe, 2006). Therefore, communication is important to achieve further happiness.
Anne Roiphe also claims the feeling of entrapment causes a happily married couple, to split. Roiphe states, “One partner may suffocate the other partner in a childlike dependency” (Roiphe, 2006). Roiphe uses this example to anomalies to show, even though as adults we want to be independent, one may feel entirely controlled by the other who clings to such child-like demands. The responsibility of having a partner who relies on one heavily may cause incredible stress and unhappiness. Such happiness requires both couples to grow and rely equally on each other. If this scenario met, a couple might find themselves angry and hateful of the life the other has created for them. Hatred as such may also cause a partner to feel guilty by not responding correctly to the attachment. Farinelli Allen states, "A person may experience guilt in an impersonal or distant relationship simply because he or she has failed to meet an obligation or standard” (Farinelli Allen, Babin, & McEwan, 2012). The guilt of being trapped, and also trapping a partner, can cause stress, tension, and, eventually, failure in marriage.
Roiphe’s final claim states that marriages fail because couples have the lack of self-control and impulse. Couples often find themselves dealing with dishonesty, unrealistic expectations, and even adultery. These situations are due to our lack of control of our emotions and actions. Roiphe states, “people today are unwilling to exercise the self-discipline that marriage requires” (Roiphe, 2006). Our generation has become too selfish to make the sacrifice and find a compromise in marital disputes. Moreover, leading many marriages to end suddenly in divorce. Farinelli Allen, Babin, and McEwan cite, “Young adults’ inability to manage such emotions effectively could result in dissatisfying or dissolved friendships, subsequently leading to increased loneliness and the loss of an important source of social support” (Owens, 2003) (Farinelli Allen, Babin, & McEwan, 2012). With expectations set by reality television, couples go into marriage expecting all of their problems to go away, as well as life from here on out to be easy and as a party. Many stubborn, stuck in their way couples find out the hard way that this is not the case.
Anne uses the term anger many times throughout this post. Anger is important to notice as it is a leading cause of marital separations. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships states, “Three of the four investment model components demonstrated significant, unique associations with friends’ anger experiences. As predicted, friends’ anger experiences were negatively related to commitment and satisfaction and positively related to investment size; alternative quality did not demonstrate a significant, unique association with friends’ experience of anger” (Farinelli Allen, Babin, & McEwan, 2012). The research stated proves that when consistent anger is in a relationship of any kind, it more often than not fails. Anger can cause distress in both the male and the female. Gourounti and fellow authors state, “Women with high marital satisfaction and good communication with partner and other people would experience a lower level of distress” (Gourounti, Lykeridou, & Vaslamatzis, 2012). This quote once again proves that marriages will have a higher success rate if there remain less anger and more communication.
Another reoccurring phrase in Roiphe’s blog post is the term change. Couples in a marriage must prepare for constant change; expect the unexpected almost. Marriages that fail to do so often fail. Roiphe makes this point clear when she states, “Couples today must also deal with cultural change” (Roiphe, 2006). Every person handles change differently. Accepting this fact should help regain stability in marriage. Failure to do so will cause a marriage to crumble and fall apart. This view of marriage failure also plays a part when Roiphe’s point of feeling trapped. Many who cannot accept the change in their life will find it a constant struggle. A small change, such as money, can, according to Roiphe, “bring difficulties out into the open and work runs counter to the basic myths of marriage” (Roiphe, 2006). When the fantasy of everything being perfect proves to be false, many find themselves clinging to what they know is true. This fantasy may cause one partner to feel suffocated as the other tries to hold on, to solve a problem that does not exist.
Roiphe compares self-deletions and issues of love, caused by our lack of self-control, to a sandstorm. She says, “These and other realities of life erode the visions of marital bliss the way sandstorms eat at rock and the ocean nibbles away at the dunes” (Roiphe, 2006). This imagery allows the reader to compare common deletions and myths about love, to an eroding rock.
In conclusion, one can recognize and identify Roiphe’s reasoning on why many marriages fall apart. Her reasoning of poor communication, entrapment, and lack of self-control in a marriage demonstrates in her blog post. SINA Cooperation did many inquisitive readers justice by allowing such an article published.