What Previous Issues Impact a Marriage?

Take a look at an average elementary school class, and you will see that the children who are kind and considerate have the most friends and are generally most popular. Kids who anger quickly and lash out at those around them are often ostracized, which is not surprising because no one likes to be the victim of their rage. As we grow older and enter more serious relationships, such behavior will have the exact same results. When it comes to marriage, the stakes are much higher, and unchecked anger and impulsivity can lead to divorce. 


Marriage Exposes One’s True Character

Marriage can also expose other character flaws, such as when one spouse doesn’t give the other enough space to be their own “self”. Because marriage brings people together from different backgrounds, a husband and wife must be prepared to respect each other’s values and goals even if they do not see eye to eye on every issue. 


Lasting Effects of Childhood

Sometimes, people enter a marriage with flaws that are no fault of their own. Growing up in a high-conflict home can leave a child scarred; yet a marriage has little chance of success with a spouse who has a damaged perception of how to treat their significant other. The experiences of childhood must be weighed carefully to determine if they are beneficial to a marriage. If they are not, it may take some effort to help a young adult work through their past.


Coming from a troubled family presents other obstacles as well. Even the most blessed couples will face some challenges, and parents and in-laws are the ideal support system. They can share the burden of material, emotional and physical needs with things as simple as babysitting and carpools to help with paying bills. Many of us take it for granted when we go to parents or in laws for Shabbos, but not everyone has such opportunities. When there is no one to turn to for support or solace, the pressure of any crisis is compounded and the stress can be overwhelming. In some cases, not only do family members provide no support, but they can even aggravate the situation by interjecting their opinions and critiques. 


Mental Health History

There is another category of issues that are even more serious, because it includes those with diagnosed mental health problems. Even the most committed spouse is not equipped to deal with a husband or wife who suffers from mental illness. On the lower end of the spectrum are cases of minor anxiety, which typically do not interfere with marriages in a significant way. However, on the other end of the mental health spectrum are more serious diagnoses such as schizophrenia or personality disorders, which will impact a marriage. When symptoms or diagnosis are unclear, a spouse can be really torn as to the course of action. He or she may convince themselves that it’s really not so bad – an idea which has some truth because in such cases the issues only arise intermittently. 


More serious mental issues are impossible to ignore. A patient who has been under constant medical care will hopefully not regress, but it does happen. One cause is the failure to manage medication properly, leading to dangerous results. However, even those who religiously adhere to their medication regimen may also need some adjustments every now and then. When addressed quickly, such changes can hopefully be controlled with professional help.


Moving Forward

All of the difficulties discussed above have one common denominator – there is help available, but only for those who recognize the problem and want to be helped. Anger management tools along with hard work can transform a person into a calm, caring individual. Therapists can help heal the scars of a traumatic childhood and guide a teen on a path that will lead to a successful marriage. And for those with mental health struggles, doctors and therapists have the experience and know how to help a person maintain a path of stability.