The new era has made divorce more acceptable in older marriages compared to the olden days. Today, couples in their sixties and seventy plus now choose to go their separate ways once the children have finally left the nest in pursuit of their own lives. Recently, I was astonished to see a relative whom I had so much respect for when I was growing up turned 80 years old and surrounded by her children, friends, and family at a grand occasion celebrating her golden age in style and her husband of over 50 years was not invited due to their recent marriage breakdown. The question is what can cause the failure of a marriage of several decades blessed with beautiful and accomplished children?

Lack of appreciation

The role of a man as the main provider in marriage has shifted through the generations as more women have become the key to sustainable development and the quality driving their family’s lives today. While some men have come to accept this reality, embrace the changes, and take responsibility for their roles within the family, others feel entitled and ungrateful when gratitude has never been a moral virtue from their childhood. Certain things you are grateful for can be seen as a mere privilege by your spouse if he lacks appreciation.

Emotional disconnection

A good marriage is driven by sincere communication which is critical when couples feel anxious and expect to be emotionally available to share each other’s worries. However, if your spouse is always intentionally absent, he or she may be emotionally disconnected from the marriage. In some cases, this can go on for several years leaving the other spouse with no option than to fix their marital problem alone. It will be disturbing to know the impact such a situation may be having on your spouse’s emotional wellbeing over the years leading to emotional disconnection which is one of the most common reasons why older marriages break down.

Narcissistic behaviour

The book of Proverbs states that, “it is better to live in a corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.” Every couple should aspire to live peacefully in their marriage but when one person becomes unreasonable and unpredictable in the marriage, it can make life unbearable for couples and their children. When a spouse has toxic behaviour, he/she is more likely to lack the ability to process emotions. The fear of not knowing what a spouse will do next can be dangerous and can suddenly leave the other person in fear for their life. Many grey marriages break up due to the toxic behaviour of one spouse and their unwillingness to seek help and save their marriage.

Lack of respect

They say that respect is reciprocal, but this is not the case in many marriages especially if the couple is from a diverse cultural background where respect means different things to both of them. For one spouse, respect may have to be merited and for the other, it is as simple as accepting the spouse for who they are. Unfortunately, many marriages have broken down due to a lack of respect making their marriage vulnerable to external forces and the possibility to seek love and respect from someone else.


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