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This Is How Your Marriage Ends

May 16, 2022 | by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

A marriage self-help book for men reveals relationship pitfalls.

In a new book written about his own divorce experience, 43-year-old Matthew Fray, (a pseudonym to protect the identities of his ex-wife and son) reveals hidden threats that destroyed his marriage over time. He uses his book, “This Is How Your Marriage Ends” as a guide, especially to men, to strengthen relationships and avoid the mistakes that he made.

Do Sweat the Small Stuff

One of his main points is that we underestimate the irreparable damage caused by the little arguments that occur over time. Your wife asked you to wash the dishes and you left them in the sink? It sounds so petty. Who would break up over unwashed dishes?

But these minor moments of hurt, of feeling ignored and invalidated, take their toll. Though they start out as inconsequential, they end up becoming very significant in the life of a marriage.

Night after night of ignoring his wife’s request made her feel disregarded and caused her pain.

Fray realizes now that night after night of ignoring his wife’s request made her feel disregarded and caused her pain. We’ve been told “don’t sweat the small stuff’ but Fray argues that we must. Otherwise, couples remain with fights and misunderstanding that weigh heavily over time.

So men (and women!), pay attention to your spouse’s wishes. What does it take to wash a dish, put down your phone during dinner or put the milk back in the fridge?

Are Men More to Blame?

He knows this will cause controversy but Fray believes male behavior is usually more responsible for divorce. When questioned about this statement, Fray told a Wall Street Journal writer that “most men truly don’t feel responsible for whatever chaos is going on…that’s the hard lesson that men discover. They say: ‘We’re 15 years into a marriage and I don’t feel as if I did anything horrible. I’m a victim of circumstances.’”

He urges men to accept responsibility for the “accidental wounds” that were caused because they grew up lacking the interpersonal skills required for coupledom. Even if you had no intention on hurting your wife, you did cause pain. Without working on learning how to convey empathy and consideration, he says that a relationship will probably disintegrate.

Bad Marriage Advice

One of the worst pieces of marriage advice given, according to Fray, is “don’t go to bed angry”. If both husband and wife feel that they are in the right, they believe that their emotions are justified. If all you do is go on and on in circles, and there is no patch-up, healing is impossible. It’s better to keep silent than stay up arguing through the night so that you “don’t go to bed angry.”

What Can We Do?

After reading Fray’s interview, I wonder how we can prevent the pain of divorce.

I’m not sure that casting blame on men for their inadequate emotional skills is the solution. I am sure that there are many good men who have been anguished as well.

We can begin by asking ourselves the same question that God asked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as they cowered under a bush: “Ayecha – where are you?”

Of course God knew where they were physically. It was their emotional and spiritual presence that was being questioned. “Where are you now? How did you begin the day surrounded by love and blessing but now you are hiding in shame? How did you get to this place as a couple?”

We can take a few moments each day and ask “Ayecha?” Where am I in this relationship? Am I showing kindness and consideration? Have I given a good word, a listening heart, a sign of affection or endearment? Am I putting into this relationship or taking my spouse for granted? If my spouse asks me to do something do I simply ignore the request, day after day? Do I roll my eyes or pretend I did not hear?

Would it really be such a big deal to wash the dish?

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