Ever hear of LINGCHI? I hadn’t either. It’s Chinese for “death by a thousand cuts,” the practice of which was outlawed, thankfully, in 1905.







Marriages which fall apart, often do so, because of another a kind of LINGCHI. The culprits are a “thousand” little annoying “destroyers,” which can ultimately “termite” the relationship.




“Carrie, for example,” bailed on her two-year relationship with “Brian,” because, she said, he hung up the phone on her. Brian couldn’t believe that what he judged to be a “trivial misstep” had caused her to move on. In reality, the “termites” had a lot to do with it.

“Ben” had more at stake”. He divorced “Carol,” the mother of his two boys, after twenty years of marriage. Why?

“She forgot about me,” he said. “I felt like I was the least important person in her life…. We didn’t even argue any more…”

On the other hand, “Alex” and “Kit” were a “high conflict couple,” whose fireworks were always close to the surface. When they couldn’t stand it… or each other… they filed for divorce.


 Take a survey and you’ll discover the most common stated reasons include: marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of sharing in the marriage, abuse and infidelity. That’s what people will tell you. (None of the couples above owned up to any of these explanations.)


It seems though, that he cause is even more likely to be an accumulation of “a thousand cuts,” unfulfilled promises, meals that pass in silence, money that is wasted and/or ignored gestures of affection… which then lay the groundwork for the bigger challenges.

Family practice attorneys report that when couples divorce after five and seven years of marriage, the cause is often cited as “too much fighting”. And when couples hang in beyond ten years, the reasons given change… more likely, they say, has to do with loss of intimacy and connection.



 Those in the fighting mode have a better chance of rescuing their marriage. You have to care enough to ask for change… over and over again.



Blaming, complaining, punishing, passive aggressing and bribing, in an effort to get a spouse to comply with stuff they really do not want to do can make things worse. And that when compromise fails, the connection dies.

Then the marriage is essentially over, whether you stay together or not.


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