• Donald Holmes

The #1 Reason Marriages Fail

My wife and I have been married for 16 years this month. And I tell you, every marriage has its challenges. If you Google top reasons for divorce or why marriages fail, you'll find an ocean of problems stemming from the Pacific: parenting, abuse, communication, infidelity, finances, intimacy, compatibility.

We all have a faced one, myself included, in marriage. How do you make a marriage pass these timeless challenges to survive and thrive in a time that the sanctity and institution of marriage is questioned?

The time is now the answer is here. Let's remove all the reasons and excuses from our reach to build strong, intimate, long-lasting marriages that impacts families and our communities.

When I conduct marriage counseling, marriage coaching, or even premarital counseling-- I start by asking the husband: do you know your God given vision? Most men say, I don't know. A few of them say a specific God given vision.

I turn and look at the wife. What’s your definition of submission? Most of them give an answer related to giving up control and being dominated. A few say an answer related to supporting your husband. Very few will mention anything spiritual.

I do tell both of them, submission has two parts. The first part “sub” meaning under and “mission” meaning to accomplish something. Ephesians 25:22 states,

“Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do unto the Lord. Husbands, when God gives you a vision and you can see it, it becomes your mission to accomplish it. You fall submissive to God's vision and it becomes your mission. In return, your wife falls submissive to the mission.”

Now, man of God, how are you going to expect a strong-willed woman, a woman with her own ideas and talents to submit to you, if you don't have a visual mission?

How can you lead when you don't even know where you're going?

Imagine your family gets in the car. You have a vision. You can see your family having a great time in Atlanta: the aquarium, Coca-Cola museum, Lenox mall and all the sites.

Now, your wife has a completely different vision. Your wife can see the family having a great time in St. Louis: Six Flags, Gateway Arch, museums and getting all the sites.

Now, it's time for you to leave and everyone heads to the truck. You open a door for your bride and your son opens the door for your sister. Both you and your son walk around the truck and get in. Everyone buckles up. You start to truck and you're off your way to enjoy your family vacation.

You make stops to get gas, snacks and you hit the interstate. Everything's peaceful. Everyone is excited about the fun to come.

The moment you head south from Atlanta, your wife begins a rebuttal. All of a sudden, peace is now turmoil. You think she's nagging and you get defensive because she's not being submissive. She's not following your lead.

How often does this happen in your marriage?

Something that should be fun and enjoyable or routine turns into disaster. The kid's softball game, a cheerleading competition, your anniversary, a birthday party, the discussion about what to eat or how to spend money…

Let the man of God know: if you don't have a vision to share, she's going to support you according to what shebelieves should happen. Her own vision.

You think she's nagging. She thinks you're not leading. Situations like this affect your relationship in an ocean of rotting issues. The consistent arguments make you both question compatibility.

You have conflicts, don't find resolution, communication goals out the window. The next thing you know, the kids stopped respecting you as parents, your intimacy suffers socially and sexually…

Let's take the same scenario. This time, the husband and wife both communicated their visions for the family vacation before the vacation. They discuss each city and sites they want to visit.

They notice that the St. Louis trip is mostly outside functions and the Atlanta trip is most of the inside sites. Together, they decided to make the St. Louis trip a summer vacation. Then, use Atlanta to surprise the kids for a Christmas vacation.

Discussing each other's vision was the answer. Not getting to the point where they questioned the marriages’ compatibility or each other's communication style.

Discussing the vision gets to the heart and purpose.

Let me make it personal. In our first year of marriage, my bride and I got into an argument over something that should have a trivial decision. The argument started with towels.

Yes, towels.

She wanted white towels and I wanted brown towels. Ivory vs. chocolate.

And the power struggle started. She didn't budge and I didn't budge. She didn't back down and I didn't back down. She liked the clean, fresh look of white towels.

At that time, I was working an industrial job at FedEx and I was coming from the Marine Corps. I despised how easily white towels would look so dirty. So, I liked how brown towels were resilient and stayed cleaner longer.

Did you catch that?

We both wanted clean. If we discussed the purpose of vision behind what we wanted…

It would have saved us that argument. Something so simple exploded. Afterwards, I remember wondering and questioning whether we were meant to be together.

The application of vision would have saved us from ineffective communication, questioning our compatibility, damaging our intimacy and us distrusting each other's judgment.

We invited an ocean of problems in our marriage.

I am now proud to say that even after almost 16 years of marriage, we have white and brown towels in our bathroom. We finally learned that we share the same vision of a clean bathroom that combines whites, creams and earth tones.

We'd have had a lot less problems if we knew to go straight to the vision, the purpose, the why or the overriding motivation of a matter vs. desires, wants, emotions, opinions and trivial communication schemes.

Habakkuk 2:2 states, “Write down the vision and make it plain so that the herald may run with it.”

Teams that when championships must understand the vision. Sounds simplistic, but it's true. Now, there's more than just imagery in a collage of a vision board involved.

There are mechanics that make the vehicle come alive. There's a mission, goals, strategies and additional elements that are included.

Each player on the team understands their roles and duties. And the coach must navigate the ship to the promised land, but it extends from the core of a solid vision.

Let's take the step to make your marriage a winning team. Here, you’ll learn:

  1. Your God-given vision

  2. How to express and formulate your vision

  3. How to build a strong foundation for a thriving marriage

  4. How to build trust, restore love, and increase intimacy

Let's build your championship team. You're thriving marriage now. Let's begin.

Step #1: Create a Vision

The first step in formulating and bringing a completed vision to life is to look at your preferred values.

What are your top 3-5 life values that are important to you? Write them down. Communication, integrity, discipline, selflessness. What are they? Write them down, document and notate them.

The mind forgets, but ink never does.

At The Target Master, you don't have to be a Christian to receive our services, but we will extend customer service based on biblical Christian morals: love, joy, peace, self-control, respect, wisdom.

What characteristics do you find most important in leaders, parents, yourself? Being driving, gregarious, steadiness, systematic…

What behaviors are important to you? Interactive, daring, predictable, analytical… What's important to you?

Your preferred morals, characters and behavior are what give value to you. They give personality to your vision. Just like when you pick a car, you decide on morals: American, Ford, Chevy, etc. You decide on character: engine, sound, color, power, etc. You decide the personality traits.

What's most important to you? Write them down.

We're going to be flexible enough to brainstorm your thoughts, but be structured enough to keep notes organized. You can return here and make this information relevant and applicable to your life.

Step #2: Determine Your Principles

The second step in formulating and bringing your vision to life is to look at preferred life principles. What 2-3 life tools, resources, or references do you base your life and beliefs on?

The Bible? Formal education? At The Target Master, we us several tools like the DISC assessment, Preparing and Rich, life coaching tools, communication techniques and relationship tools. These are just some of the tools we have in our arsenal.

Maybe you are a woman and you live by Proverbs 31. Maybe you're a man and you're wanting a Proverbs 31 woman. Write down 2-3 fact-based tools that you base your operations in life on.

What ethics in your life do you stand on? What determines right from wrong?

The Golden Rule? Love God, love your neighbor. Southern hospitality? Manners, respecting elders, chivalry. What in your life defines right from wrong and helps you make sound judgment call?

Your preferred ethics and life tools are elements you based on how to conduct life. Just like when you purchase a car, you decide ethics. Price vs. budget. Used vs. new.

You decide on life tools. Engine size, the number of seats, storage capacity. Continue to write down your thoughts. Stop and rewind, if you need. Stay flexible enough to brainstorm and keep enough structure to organize your thoughts and notes.

When creating the vision, think of what you want to see at the end game.

Step #3: Get Specific

If you could change the world, help a group of people, or leave your fingerprint on earth before leaving earth… what would that still picture look like?

If you took a selfie, a polaroid picture or a snapshot of that thought, what does it look like? Describe it.

Who is in it? Men, women, families, couples, singles, people, animals? Companies, for-profit or non-profit? Cars, buildings, furniture?

What's the difference in your current day and the picture?

Is it a world of zero divorce? Maybe you want to start a retirement hall, “Eleanor Elderly Estates.” Or maybe your passion is tutoring, “Texas Tutors.”

We’re not looking at actions right now. Just the photo. Let's not think about what you would do to make this picture happen. Just describe the picture. Describe how they were changed, impacted or served.

Maybe you're thinking about a place of zero credit declines or a global forest fire. Or maybe it's “Sue’s Salon.” You want to make your picture your passion.

You want to see elements that describe the vision from your life's work. They are the why behind your passion. The fire behind your passion. They are the clarity to your vision.

Composing your vision is just like when you pick a car. You envision the perfect vehicle for your family. Your vision is what drives your values and your principles in life.

Step #4: Look at Your Mission

The fourth step in formulating your vision and bringing it to life is to look at your overriding call to action. Your mission. Think of what you're going to do to bring success to your life.

Your mission points to that action. It is what's going to be done to make that picture come to reality.

What is the purpose of your organization? What is the purpose of your marriage? What's the purpose of your life? Why do you exist? Why do they exist?

Now that you have that picture, what is one major action you need to do in order to bring that picture to fruition?

Let's use a world of zero divorce as an example. Would you need to become the leading provider in marriage friendly scripts, commercials and TV shows? Would you need to become the number one marriage counselor in the world?

Composing your mission is just like buying a car. Determining what you're going to do to get the car and make the vision a reality. Your mission gives drive to action to accomplish your vision.

Step #5: Look at your Life Goals

The fifth step in formulating and bringing to life a complete vision is to look at your life goals.

When creating goals, focus on tangible and measurable actions that leads your mission. What milestones do you need to accomplish along the way?

Let's use that example to become a leading provider of marriage commercials, TV shows and movies. Maybe a company with this mission may want to do the following goals.

Maybe they want to write for theater or local play writers. Maybe they want to write plays for college students, local theaters or for tours.

Maybe they could start writing commercials for local businesses and then move on to write commercial national businesses. Write scripts for local and small directors.

By starting with smaller projects, you can build up to larger projects. You can build to the overrun call to action and ultimately make your picture. Your vision becomes a reality

Let's bring it closer to home.

Maybe your picture, your vision of your marriage, is a striving strong life-long marriage. Maybe your overriding call to action is get a marriage that stands on love, effective communication, graceful conflict resolution, trust, overwhelming and overflowing intimacy.

Maybe your milestones, your goals, are to improve effectiveness and communication. You’ve found better ways to resolve conflict, challenges and problems that arise.

You’ve learned how to increase intimacy, restore trust, reignite a fire and excitement in marriage. Marriages that are able to formulate a completed vision and create an energy in their efforts spark increased intimacy.

Husbands need to believe in something bigger than himself. His ego cannot be selfish for his own ambition. A couple needs to agree upon the vision for the whole, so the husband feels respected and supported. They need to feel like their wives honor their leadership.

My wife and I have been through several counselors, pastors and professionals before we formulated our vision. We gained great tools, but they were more effective after we had our collective vision.

We have our family values posted on the fridge. We support each other’s goals. We're working together to fulfill them.

I have a client, let's call my client Brandon. Now that he and his wife are composing a vision for their life together, they are

  • Praying together every day

  • Increasing intimacy

  • Restoring trust

  • Resolving conflict

  • Improving communication

  • Created financial goals

They work to progress their relationship daily. They have redefined relationship roles in their marriage. This is how a clear vision can revitalize your marriage and your life.

If you are interested in our Christian marriage coaching, please visit to book a free consultation. I'm taking a few more clients now I would love to get to meet you.

Let's create the marriage God has in store for you.

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