We’ve all heard the statistics. At least half of all marriages end in divorce. So what are the specific marriage mistakes to avoid, and at what year(s) in their relationship are couples most likely to make them?

Let’s find out – and learn some tips to successful marriage along the way.

Most Common Years for Marriage Mistakes

Interestingly, there are quite a few seemingly cursed years in a marriage’s lifetime, and they each come with their own unique challenges. Starting from earliest to latest, these years are:

Year 2

This is when the honeymoon period starts to wear off, and the realities and responsibilities of making a marriage work start to set in. This is when some of the most common relationship problems can start. In addition, all of the formerly cute and quirky traits that you once loved about your spouse start to drive you nuts.

Year 5

The term “Starter Marriage” was made for you if your marriage dissolves around year five. A “Starter Marriage” is a marriage that lasts 5 years or less and the couple does not have any kids. Many couples struggle at the 5-year mark because this is when hard decisions, like whether to have children, come into play. This is one reason why not discussing these major decisions in advance of getting married is a big marriage mistake.

Year 7

Here’s where the “Seven Year Itch” becomes relevant. People tend to want to make major changes in their lives every seven years or so, and in many cases, this means changing spouses. Is this itch what causes a marriage to fail? It’s typically not the only factor, but it can have an impact!

Year 10

Apparently, there is also a “Ten Year Itch!” According to a study at Brigham and Women’s University, where over 2000 women were surveyed, the highest level of marital dissatisfaction occurs around the 10th year of marriage. Researchers concluded that this timing was due to the fact that most women were knee-deep in marriage after kids and busy with childcare, household chores, and other responsibilities around this time.

A woman holds her head in her hand after making common marriage mistakes

The Keys to a Successful Marriage? Avoid These 3 Marriage Mistakes

If this all sounds bleak, don’t despair! Researchers found that if you can make it to the 15-year mark without any major marriage mistakes, marriage does get better. Yikes! However, for those of you who’d rather not wait that long, here are 3 common mistakes in marriage to avoid in order to enjoy your marriage earlier!

Avoid Eye-Rolls!

According to renowned researchers, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the biggest predictor of divorce in any marriage is showing contempt for your partner. This includes sarcasm, ridicule, name-calling, and non-verbal gestures like eye-rolls. Doing these things makes your partner feel like you don’t respect or value them as a person.

What to do instead: Let your partner know that he/she is valued by showing gratitude daily. Write him a love note, give him a hug, or just say a genuine “Thank You,” for something he did. As the saying goes, “A person who feels valued and appreciated will always do more than is expected.”

Stay In The Sack!

Too many couples make the mistake of putting sexual satisfaction on the back burner of their lives. Sure, there are a million other things to take care of, but some studies suggest that even when many other conflicts occur, couples who continue to interact sexually remain happier than couples who don’t.

What to do instead: Make time for sex in your relationship. Even if you have to put it on a calendar, take advice from Nike and “Just Do It!” If you’re struggling to maintain intimacy due to a lack of satisfaction or things just feeling a little bit mundane, then don’t be afraid to spice it up! Sex in a marriage doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it’s totally possibly to make mind-blowing sex part of your regular life.

Money Matters!

Disputes about money have caused far too many marriages to fail – money is at the root of many marriage mistakes. In fact, according to debt relief company My Credit Summit, when a partner feels the other spends their money foolishly, it increases the probability of divorce by 45%.

Oftentimes, people with opposite money personalities (e.g. spenders vs. savers), gravitate toward one another, which can result in major arguments and even divorce. Because of this, one of the most common money mistakes couples make is simply not communicating enough about their budgets, spending habits and financial goals.

What to do instead: Talk to your partner about the way that you like to handle money. Explore your own fears and biases in regards to money, and listen to your partner’s issues as well. Find a way to handle finances that work for both of you, and be sure to show respect for your partner’s financial fears and fantasies.

a couple argues after making common marriage mistakes

The Secret to A Successful Marriage

If you truly want a successful marriage, then it’s not enough to simply avoid marriage mistakes. Above all, if you want your marriage to last for the long haul, you’ve got to make it a priority in your life. Just like any other area of effort, you get out of it what you put into it. 

This is especially true after being married for several years, when there could be a tendency to take your spouse for granted or start to feel like maybe there is someone better out there for you. 

Just remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side…it’s greener where you water it! Sometimes, all it takes is a renewed dedication to make your own lawn picture perfect.

So what can you do if you’re feeling like your marriage is due for a tune-up? Consider online couples therapy to better learn how to better communicate, understand your partner’s love language and work through the most common relationship problems.

Individual therapy for relationship issues may also be an option, particularly if your partner is resistant to couples therapy.

If you would like to talk more about how to make your marriage work for you, contact Couples Learn. I’m here to help!