The Psychological Impact That Broken Promises Have on a Marriage

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One thing that will ruin any relationship is to start off with unrealistic promises. Oh yes when we were young or in the stage of romantic love we make promises such as “I will love you forever.” Even the traditional weddings vows state” til

One thing that will ruin any relationship is to start off with unrealistic promises.  Oh yes when we were young or in the stage of romantic love we make promises such as “I will love you forever.”  Even the traditional weddings vows state” till death do us part.”  But in today’s society when relationships are so fragile, absolute promises are hard to keep.

A good and solid relationship is built on trust, and what is very important is a person’s integrity.  Too many broken promises will break that trust.  Now of course, when we talk about the biggies like the two mentioned above, we need to know there is a commitment before entering into what we believe is a solid and lasting relationship.  There has got to be the affirmations such as, “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” but, “I will love you forever” is not something that happens in all modern day relationships given the ratio of divorces in the USA and Canada.

However, part of the reason for divorces in the first place in some families is the broken promises.  One of the reasons for this is the disappointment sustained when these promises are not realized.  Remember if the promise sounds too big it really is.  For example the plea, “Marry me and I will give you everything” or “Marry me and I will take care of you,” or tall orders and they need to be clarified. 

One is that these kinds of promises are open-ended. , What does the partner mean by, “I will give you everything?”  The parameters for this open ended sentence must be stipulated. 

I know a couple right now who is divorcing over that very promise.  For him that statement meant he would give her all that he could possibly give.  In other words he would give her 100 percent of what he had to offer.  For her it meant she would be in a much better position financially and she would never have to worry about money again.  The trouble is the man lost his job and their lifestyle changed drastically and the wife wants out now. When you make promises clearly stipulate what you mean to avoid trouble down the road. A cliché such as I can’t promise you a bed of roses but I will do the best that I can fits well in this context.

However, promises don’t have to be that big to cause issues in a relationship.  Sometimes the little things, and a life time of broken promises can destroy a marriage.  For example, a husband who will constantly promise to take his wife out for dinner and never does not only disappoints her but frustrates her as well.  If you make a promise that you will take your spouse out, give a date and time and stick to it, the typical answer, “I don’t when Alice, later” is not good enough.

Similarly women are not exempt from making promises they cannot keep either.  The wife that agrees to have her husband’s best friend over once a week for dinner is making an unrealistic promise.  Usually what happens is it works for a while and then life gets in the way.  The wife might resent having to cook every week for the best friend especially if she doesn’t really like him that much.  She might be sick or tired on any given week, or there might be something else she might want to do on that specific evening such as go out with her friends.  

The trick is to realize that a promise like that is a tall order.  It is better to say I will try to have your friend over once a week but realize there will be times when it is just not possible.  That way everyone knows exactly where they stand, including the friend.

Another issue that arises from this scenario is that the friend might take the position that the problem lies with him and ask the husband, “why is your wife mad at me, she doesn’t invite me over anymore.”  This puts the husband in the middle trying to accommodate both sides.

In other words marital promises can spill over into relationships with others as well.  The best model to follow is to think before making promises, and when make them make sure they are something you can do.  If not, if the situation merits it, offer a compromise that is acceptable for both yourself and your partner.


More Reasons for Broken Marriages

As mentioned, lying is a huge problem in the ruination of a marriage. Broken promises like I promise to quit drinking, I promise to quit gambling, I promise to quit watching porn, and I promise to quit staying out all night with my friends. Broken promises break trust, trust that was once believed in. As the old saying goes, “Lie to me once, shame on you, lie to me twice, shame on me.” What that means is that once you are caught lying the first time, that creates a huge crack in trust and in the marriage.

Social media has also become another problem in marriages. Some spouses may not consider talking to an old friend and lying to their spouse as a lie or even an affair, but the lie hurts just like it was an affair. Lying cuts deep in the fabric of marriage.

Unfortunately, meeting up with an old friend on social media sites like Facebook, can lead to a face to face meeting and possibly a full blown affair.

Being totally open in a marriage is the only way to have a good marriage. Sharing your phone with your spouse is important, because the first time you start hiding and protecting your phone, and that is a huge crack in the trust of a marriage. The only things hidden should be what you are getting your spouse for a gift.


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