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Why Good People End Up in Bad Marriages

Posted on : 16-04-2012 | By : Edward | In : Blog Home


I met Jacky and her husband about twelve years ago when they were still in campus and madly in love with each other. They were in their third year at the university and had great plans for the years ahead. True to their plans, they got married in a lavish wedding eight years ago after having courted for six years. They were deeply in love and looked poised for many years together and a great marriage.

Sadly, two years ago Jacky and Steve separated after having too many fights than I care to count. Those who knew them were shocked, what happened to the picture perfect couple madly in love? Why did these two end up separating? There was no accusation of infidelity, both are honest and reliable. They are hard-working and really nice people to know. What happened? Why did such good people end up in a bad marriage that ultimately crumbled?

I happened to meet with Steve a few weeks ago and in the course of our conversation, we got to talk about their marriage and Jacky in particular. Honestly speaking, Jacky is a very beautiful lady and I asked Steve why he let go of a beautiful, intelligent, hard working and honest lady like Jacky. His answer shocked me and began to open my eyes to something that might be the cause of many of the broken marriages today. Steve told me that he nolonger felt anything for Jacky. The feelings were gone and therefore the marriage went with them. After much probing, I discovered that Steve missed Jacky’s advice, her way of looking at things and the honest conversations they used to have when they were not fighting, he even ended up admitting that he wished they were still friends.

I was left wondering why two very good people who were perfect for each other, enjoyed each others company and had once loved each other deeply would separate just because they no longer felt anything for each other.

To steve and Jacky, love was a feeling that they fell into and after several years of marriage, they fell out of the feeling and the marriage fell apart. The vows they had made were nothing compared to the feeling they had lost. Many people just like this couple view love as something they feel not something they commit to, when the emotional excitement is there and they give each other sexual highs, when the heart pounds at the presence of the other partner, they are in love but when the feelings are gone, the love is gone and the marriage crumbles.

Love is not the sparks, the excitement and the feeling as though your chest will explode. Love is not the deep yearning of desire and the red roses. Love is not holding hands and walking on sand into the crimson red sunset. All these and more are great but they are not love.

After being married for 14 years, I can tell you straight that feelings change, feelings do not last and they are affected by the weather, stress and all kinds of things. If I was to depend on feelings, my marriage would be over by now. True love is not a feeling, it is a commitment.

I love my wife and this means that I am committed to act lovingly towards her in every way regardless of how I feel and what is going on in our lives. This kind of love is what the Bible talks about in 1 Corinthians 13, this love sacrifices for the sake of the other, it is patient and kind, it is not irritable and keeps no record of wrongs. True love cares about the other person and seeks the best for that person and seeks to give without expecting anything in return. I strive for this kind of love in every situation and I encourage you to strive for this.

Don’t trade true love for some fantasised warm fuzzy feeling that will disappear the moment your spouse or loved one does something you do not like. True love is not something you fall into and therefore can fall out of, it is a love that you grow in. I love my wife more today than I did when we first got married. She is my companion, my friend, the girl I share with my dreams and my fears and I love doing life with her. We have grown in love. There are seasons when the feelings are not there because of stress or other life challenges but we still smile and laugh together and keep growing. Feelings don’t last but commitment does.

It is time we stopped relating because of feelings and start loving, truly loving. Good people are ending up in bad marriages because they based their relationships on feelings not on true love.

I would love to hear from you, why are good people ending up in bad marriages? Go ahead and comment below and let us keep the conversation going. Is your relationship with your girlfriend or boyfriend, your fiancé or your spouse based on feelings or true love? Do you think it will last?


Comments (30)

A great article that I connect with

I lost mine after 10 years. I just like ou said the guy feel out of love and that was the end of our friendship.

I totally dig this story and feel it too. its a wonder marriages in the past had a longer track record.. im always wondering what so different.. other than there was less convenience around. I personally think.. we have become accustomed to convenience.. I want it Now syndrome.. and if you cant get that.. its “on to the next one” I have 2 friends.. that got married, divorced and are due to remarry this year.. all this happening in a span of not more than 5 yrs!

From my experience.. yes, “feeling different” about the other was the bell that rang for my relationship. As committed as i was, my partner felt that feeling should carry the day- eventually..as things fell apart.. we also allowed things to come into the relationship. We still talk.. 5 years later, spend long nights chatting into the night- and now the tables have turned. He wanting another chance, me not tolerating another chance.. incase its thrown away at another whim. Who know;s maybe this time its.. “you’ve changed/not changed too much!”

Looking back i wonder how you would advise someone getting back into the “market” to make their partner aware of this? or rather, how should one bring this up when dating/courting so when they remarry “committing to feelings” does not bear largely on the union itself?

I agree with you Bi, the “I want it now” syndrome is a great killer of relationships. We think we can get whatever we want and when that is not available, we quickly move on in search of the same.

It is painful to even think of what happened to you, that when the feelings went, your partner was ready to move on also. It is good that you are still friends (you talk) is it possible to work things out with the help of a couple that can mentor you guys through it? Sometimes we though away good opportunities because we never knew and it may be the case with him.

For dating/ courting, my advice is always, make sure you go through premarital counselling, for me and my wife, that was the greatest eye opener. We got into marriage prepared. We had the opportunity to learn, discuss and be forearmed with the info and experiences of others that have helped us fight our own battles and keep growing.

Good article.. Good people end up in bad marriages because they forget to realize that relationship dynamics have changed. When you are dating after a fight you everyone goes their own way,In a marriage there is no going anywhere infact you share a bed at th end of the day.
Couples fail to communicate,no matter how an issue looks unimportant and petty it should be discussed. These are those small issues that eventually create cracks and tension,when not handled immediately will tear down once was a good marriage.
And as adults couples should learn to handle their own marital issues without involving their parents because they tend over blow an issue that could be handled within the couple’s home considering the kind of animosity that some parents have over their in-laws. We all know that whenever an issue occurs instead of some parents help the healing process they create a rift where the was once a good marriage.
I think the reasons are soo many why good people end up in bad marriages like over expectations etc.

It funny you came up with post today. I was talking to a friend who was up until Nov ’11 was dating my cousin. We hadn’t talked since Oct last year and only came to catch up last wk. so here called me today telling me of the reason they parted ways. They were college sweethearts who dated for 5yrs. They looked happy all along until after campus when they were left to fend for themselves. The lady a lawyer made it to the job mkt immediately and the guy an engineer Tarmaced for over two yrs. to cut the long story short, she confronted him once and wounded his ego by telling him that he is a loser and she didn’t see a future with him

Torn and completely wounded he turned to God and asked how and why that happened. God slapped him with an answer two wks later. He landed a job with a leading firm, paying him 6fig salary. Yes you guessed it right, the lady on hearing this wanted back. Dude is happily single.

Anyway my point is, most of the relationships around are based on the wrong foundation. Could be sex, convenience, social identity etc. before anybody commits to marriage I think they really need to examine on what foundation their relationship is built. If its anything other than LOVE for sure it’s bound to fall. What is love, you quoted it in the verse above.

Good read pastor.

That is sadly what is happening with young couples, its like marriages are on fashion and once they get tired/bored they move on to the “next big thing”

Thanks, Pastor.

One thing I spend a lot of time teaching my children (something I had to learn the hard way in marriage) is that they need to take the family God has given them now (their parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) and learn how to love them even when they’re unlovable. I am often unlovable. My bride less so, but she has her moments. 😉

But following Jesus’ example—How much more unlovable could we, who hung Him on a cross, be?—Who laid down His life for His bride—US! The church—to present her to Himself as a spotless bride, without blemish, bathing her in His word… following His example, I see that it’s not about how lovable my bride is. It’s about how much I’m willing to die to myself to make her lovable to me.

My children struggle to get along with one another at times. Heck, I struggle to get along with them at times. Foolishness (read: sin) is bound up in the heart of a child. That means they’re often unlovable. Which is a great training ground for teaching them how they are to love their spouse one day if/when the Lord so blesses them. Loving your brother or sister, or parents, when you don’t like them, don’t agree with them, or are annoyed by them is great practice for loving your mate.

Bi, I agree with Edward… seek some pre-marital counseling together. Since you are already friends, already have shared experiences, and have learned that feelings don’t win the day… commitment does; take the step to learn how to communicate and choose to love one another. Learn how to repent when you hurt each other, and forgive one another. Learn how communicate expectations, wants, needs, and desires, and then leave them in God’s hands. Learn how to pray for and with one another. Learn to love: not ‘eros’ (romantic, emotional love), but Jesus’ ‘agape’ (self-sacrificing, seeking-the other’s-good love).

To do that requires the same strength Jesus had, that which came from His Father. When we expect to always “feel” love for our spouse, or expect them to meet our needs and if they don’t head off for the “next thing,” we are following the pattern of Jeremiah 2:13: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Your spouse will never be enough for you. And you will never be enough for your spouse. Neither of you were meant to be that… that’s God’s role. You will both always fall short when you expect to get all of your nourishment from your spouse or from the relationship. Only when you turn to God, the spring of living water, for nourishment and fulfillment… only when you are allowing God’s Spirit to flow through you, will you be able to (a) love your spouse the way God loves him/her, and (b) truly be able to give of yourself for the good of your spouse.

I passionately love my bride, because I let Jesus meet my needs, and ask Him to show me her through His eyes. Then, it’s easy to love her the way He loves her, to use the strength that He’s given me to pour into her life. Then, I ask Him to meet her needs… AND to use me however He sees fit, to meet her needs. I sure can’t do it in my own strength, but I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

Pastor, to answer your question: ‘Good’ people end up in bad marriages because both people in the marriage think themselves good, rather than seeing themselves as stewards of God’s goodness, commanded to pour out His goodness on others, especially their spouse and children.

Jim Bob

this is a very great article pastor and i totally agreed with you that marriage is not about feeling but commitments to one another.
I’ve been married for 13 years now and i love my husband very much more than the first time i met him.
at times feeling are not there but we should not let feelings break our marriage. thanks so much pastor for this article and i hope married couples are reading this.

That’s really great. I love and will definitely put it into practice.
God bless!

Hi Shiphira,

God bless you even as you put the lessons into practice

Great one indeed


Awesome observation and advice… Many times I wish single people can understand marriage and commitment before making life time choices….

I feel this article. I have long held a view that love is a choice and not a feeling. Having been left by a woman who felt she needs someone better, i know it can be hurtful especially when one has decided to hack through whatever situation. We have to learn to make decisions and stick with them like folks of old. If its feelings and how a partner makes another feel in the sack or whatever precedes the sexual action increasing or decreasing the appetite, isn’t it surprising that research shows that our grandmothers were getting more sex than our sisters and daughters? Blame it on life and lifestyle but they also had to adopt to the situations existing and difficult partners because i don’t think our grandfathers were faced with all this affirmative action, bigamy cases and gender equality s***. Therefore the hope is that our sisters, wives and daughters, brothers and sons, will hold on for the ride and meet their end of the bargain.

l thank God for Am one of those good people(l believe) married to a good man.
What has helped us stay committed to each other is understanding the meaning of ”doing unto others what you would like done to you” and knowing that commiting to God is the first step to a happy marriage.

Spot on Cathy, let us keep our commitments in order and we will enjoy a life with the people God has blessed us with.


Brother you can preach right there,i like the way you said feelings are affected by stress of life etc

Wonderfull…n I totally love the comments. Blessings

Great! have learnt alot from it. pple should commit themselves to their marriage or r/ship but not follow their feelings which makes them misjudge their partners

My marriage of almost 28 years is a sham. We have argued constantly for most of our 28 years. I do not arguing or fighting. My husband has a very defensive personality who acts like he is a parent in a marriage, rather than a spouse. We have not had sex in years. One of our children is in college and the other one is graduating from high school. Once that child leaves, I am sure we will divorce. I am sick and tired of trying and hoping for another day that is never going to come.

Pray! That’s the only salvation I can offer you… I feel for you.

Prayer for me, leaves me with no worries in the world. Just pray…

So far all your reposts have been ”insights” on what i have been praying about! Thank you pastor Munene for the advice! Noted!

How does one know for sure they are not meant to get married? it’s not God’s will for them like Paul says ….i think that’s one of the reasons..

Thank you for openeing my eyes, i am going through the same situation presently.

Great article man of God; you have rily inspired me and my engagement. Be blessed!

Hope from Nairobi, Kenya


I am blessed to know that you have been inspired and encouraged. Keep reading and live out the lessons.


Love is not about wanting but giving,Love is not about feeling but living,love is not about buying but paying. I bob says so.

Hey Pastor Munene,

This article is spot on..and to add a few more pointers one being:- setting the relationship on a wrong foundation.Perhaps campus makes many things convenient and you feel you know this person and they feel the same..only to realize later in marriage you cant stand each other.

The message was so good as it has happened to me several times in relationships, quiet alot to learn fromit

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