Despite 100% of people going into marriage believing wholeheartedly that this is for a lifetime, more than half end in a divorce or separation. It’s a heartbreaking statistic that really makes you wonder how things could go from being so darn good that you vow to spend your life with someone, and turn so bad that a divorce is the best option. One theory is that times have changed drastically, making it easier to start all over. In fact, many studies have found that in the past 20 years, divorce rates has more than doubled. Perhaps this is because of all the temptation that is out there now – from affair dating websites to apps that allow you to swipe right for a one-night stand. Or maybe it’s because people used to get married much younger than they do now and rarely get to even know themselves before attaching themselves to a life partner. Whatever the reason is, there’s no denying that marriages take work just like any other relationship. And although it may seem like everyone from your best friends to your next-door neighbours are getting a divorce, it doesn’t have to mean that the same lies in the cards for you. Even if your marriage seems like it’s at the breaking point, there is always a chance of making things better and re-building and strengthening the bond that brought you together in the first place. In this article, we’ve got you covered with all the information you need to know to keep your relationship away from divorce.
Most Common Reasons for Divorce
It’s difficult to navigate to the root cause of divorce because oftentimes, it’s not the result of one thing. The reasons for divorce also vary from couple to couple, and what may be the final string that brings up the ‘D’ word may be entirely different from the things that originally brought the couple to that place. there are also many factors that can influence someone’s decision to choose divorce over staying and/or working things out, such as age, gender, and economic background. For example, someone in their 30s with 5 years of marriage under their belt may feel more compelled to work things out than someone in their 50s who has been dealing with the same issues for over 20 years.
But that’s not to say that there aren’t some common reasons people choose to finally go the divorce route. Now, you may be wondering why we’re even talking about it if the idea is to save a marriage and the answer is simple: knowledge is power. Understanding the most common reasons for divorce can help you form a strong foundation in your relationship that addresses these issues before they even become an issue.
A Lack of Communication
Communication is key. You’ve heard it before and you’ll likely hear it many times throughout your life because it is true and for every relationship you have, whether it’s with your spouse, your children, co-workers, friends, or complete strangers. Being able to properly communicate your thoughts and feelings can avoid an abundance of potential problems in all types of relationships and in all aspects of life. However, proper communication does need to be reciprocated. And when proper, healthy communication isn’t the norm in a relationship, a lack of communication (and hidden thoughts, feelings and opinions) becomes the norm.
A recent study done on divorced individuals found that a lack of communication was listed as the top reason for people’s marriages falling apart. And a lack of communication can then lead to all kinds of problems that can eventually destroy a relationship, such as:
- Increased conflict
- Argumentative behaviour
- Feelings of resentment
- Blaming one another for everything
- The negative perspective of your partner
- Feeling unseen
- Lack of intimacy
- Difficulty reaching goals
It isn’t always a lack of communication that’s the problem, and sometimes, it’s how a couple communicates that can lead to problems and eventually, a divorce. Poor communication can consist of many things, such as:
- Criticizing or belittling one another
- Getting defensive
- Giving the cold shoulder
- Passive aggression
- Lack of compromise
- Assuming you know what your partner is thinking
- Not being honest or open with how you feel
And it isn’t even the poor communication that’s the worst of it. While there’s no denying that the things listed above are incredibly hurtful, they can then lead to increased arguments and difficulties, as well as a build-up of negative feelings towards your relationship and partner. The poorer the communication, the less likely you are to do it, which brings you back to the first point and all of the negative effects of that as well. It’s a very toxic cycle to get into and, as such, is a common reason for divorce.
Poor communication is also a tricky factor to fix because, even if you’re doing everything you can to ensure healthy communication on your part, you can’t force the same from your partner. But it is an absolutely crucial aspect of a healthy relationship and hopefully, that can be enough to get your partner (or yourself) to try being better at
Sometimes, couples just grow apart and it’s a common reason for divorce. You go through so many changes throughout your life as an individual and as a couple, and unfortunately, you don’t always end up in the same space.
Fortunately, this is one of those things that can be prevented with a little bit of effort and conscious choice to grow through the changes together. It’s not always easy, but it is certainly one of the easier divorce factors to overcome, especially if your shared values, sexual interests and religious or political beliefs have not changed. If they have, you do have a bit more work set out for you.
Infidelity is often considered to be the final straw for many people, and understandably so. This act of betrayal comes with so many negative thoughts and feelings that can be difficult to overcome, resulting in years and years of pain and resentment. Understandably so.
However, if you’re battling with the effects of infidelity and want to make the marriage work, it’s important to try to move on from it. Harbouring those intense emotions can really take its toll on you and your relationship.
There’s a common saying that the three biggest factors that can cause a relationship to fall apart are religion, sex and money. And it’s not wrong, as experiencing financial difficulties in a relationship is listed as one of the common causes of divorce.
Now, financial problems can look different for everyone. It can consist of arguments regarding how money is spent, stress about a lack of money, a lack of saving efforts, losing your job, not working, and so on and so forth. Money matters in a relationship, especially when it’s shared. A lack of financial compatibility can also signify differences in values and priorities regarding financial decisions, which can cause difficulties in the communication department as well.
Fortunately, finances can always be improved.
It’s estimated that approximately 1/3rd of people listed verbal, emotional or physical abuse as one of the top three reasons they filed for divorce, according to research. Almost all of them are women. If you are in an abusive relationship, there is help available at places, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline or RAINN.
Every family has their problems but some of those problems are the reasons behind a divorce, such as childcare responsibilities, family and household obligations, and disagreements on how to raise children. These types of problems are responsible for 20% of divorces, which is surprising considering proper communication, counselling and finding a common ground can quickly eliminate the issue.
Having a spouse with a drinking or drug problem is responsible for 10% to 35% of all divorces. It’s a complicated, complex issue that often encompasses all of the other top reasons for divorce as well, such as mistrust, lack of communication, poor communication (lies), a change in values, and so on and so forth. Fortunately, there are many resources available for both you and your partner if addiction is something you’re struggling with in your relationship.
How to Save Your Marriage
Divorce doesn’t have to be the answer to your relationship problems, and many couples have saved their marriage and come back stronger and happier than ever, despite having the full intention of signing on the dotted line to call it quits.
Here are some solutions that are available for struggling marriages:
- Counselling (individual and couple)
- Focus on communicating your needs (and listening to your partner’s)
- Spend more quality time together
- Make it a priority to find healthier ways to deal with everyday stresses, such as financial pressures, busy schedules and children’s needs
- Set a goal to not allow everyday stressors to take precedence over spending one-on-one time together
- Understand what the main issues are in the marriage and create a plan together for moving forward
- For example, if finances are a struggle, create a monthly budget or strategy to get out of debt or speak with a professional who can manage your finances better
- Start over – yes, really.
- Go on weekly dates
- Call each other throughout the day
- Send flirty text messages
- Get intimate
- Read some self-improvement/self-help books
- Invest in healthier habits and change negative patterns
- Take any words relating to breaking up or divorce completely out of your vocabulary
- Sign up for an online relationship repair program (Check out our recommendation that we reviewed: Mend The Marriage)
Marriages are tough. There’s no denying that. However, divorce doesn’t have to be the answer. Knowledge and guidance can go a long way when it comes to getting you and your partner back to a healthy, happy place.