One thing you hear these days is that the divorce rate is on average about 50% and gets worse with sequential marriages. With statistics like that, all of us who aspire to love our spouses and grow a healthy and happy family might as well flip a coin at the altar. Heads, we make it. Tails, we’d better get a pre-nup.
Here at Tonight’s Better Together, we don’t accept this as fact but as more of a cautionary tale. All it tells me is that it is harder than many think to have a successful and happy marriage. So being the data nerd that I am, I thought it might be interesting to see what the top reasons are for divorce according to the top search results from Google.
- Infidelity – This seems like common sense to most. If you park your car in a garage you don’t pay the rent on, you might have some issues with your landlord. But in all seriousness, infidelity is a major violation of trust with your partner and is very hard for a relationship to come back from.
- Getting in for the wrong reasons – Doing anything for the wrong reasons often leaves people feeling unfulfilled and more than ready for a change. Marriage can be compared to a promise to another person – that you will be with them, through thick and thin. At present day, it’s regarded as okay to break promises frequently and marriages suffer as a result far too often.
- Finances – Money brings up many feelings (uneasiness, dread, resentment) and that’s just being single. Add managing finances on top of a marriage and it can easily drive a stake through your relationship. We’ve found that a dose of communicating lifestyle expectations, managing jointly, and working together as a team (and being understanding!) during unemployment makes this much easier.
- Lack of communication – Communication is to the marriage as water is to the body; without it, it whithers. Quite honestly, just communicating on a daily basis doesn’t even cut to the center of the problem. Speaking with purpose to your partner gets missed so often in relationships and it’s one of the easier things a couple can do to help keep this train on the rails. Why not try a weekly date night to set that time aside for each other or learn how to be an export communicator with your spouse with this article.
- Unrealistic expectations – How often does the picture in your head match up with reality? Now, ask yourself how often does that happen for your spouse? When coming into marriage, breaking down expectations starts with actually talking about them with your spouse to be. This way the two of you can hone in on expectations that you both can live up to for each other.
- Becoming disillusioned – After becoming married, the roles that both partners play for each other often shifts in unanticipated ways. One source mentioned loss of autonomy being a pain point for couples, meaning that partners in marriage lose their self-identity. It’s common to build an identity associated with you and your spouse but when you lose your autonomy, it can lead to resentment. It’s important to occasionally reflect on your role in the marriage to see if things have changed. If so, is it negatively or positively affecting your marriage?
- Not being able to resolve conflict – You hear about conflict resolution at work all of the time. Focusing on resolving issues in the workplace is all well and good, but it can play a huge part in your relationship too. If you find yourself arguing constantly or not being able to come to an agreement, that can get old very quick. Often times, conflicts can be resolved by first assessing yourself before you assess the person across from you. That way you get the chance to figure out your reasoning and analyze whether or not it’s actually worth the anger.
- Lack of intimacy – This is not solely tied to sexual intimacy. Intimacy is often tied to emotional engagement on both sides. It’s the little things that build up over time such as speaking positive words or expressing loving body language towards your spouse. When you shift these habits, it’s very apparent to your better half and will cause some concern, especially if it’s not talked about.
- Addiction – When a spouse becomes addicted to anything, that puts the other person in a defensive posture. While the addicted person continues their habit, their behavior leads them to do many unacceptable marriage behaviors such as lying, cheating, and possibly theft. Either way, if real conversations do not take place in a marriage that is struggling with addictions, the result is often divorce.
- Abuse – There is no mystery behind why abuse is in this list. If a spouse ever feels the desire or the justification to strike their partner then there may have been some issues in the beginning of the marriage that were not communicated. Marriages can come back from this but some serious healing needs to happen before trust can be rebuilt.
Divorce is a terrible word that gets said far too often and used way too loosely. My wife and I refer to it as the “D-word” and have promised to never use it jokingly. However, in the context of our marriage, analyzing and understanding the causes of many divorces helps strengthen our marriage so we can be proactive with each other.
It’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.