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Most Popular Reasons Why People Get Divorced

Posted by in Society: Relationships  ~  June 15, 2012 03:47:53 PM

According to data reported, first time married couples divorce at a rate of 41%, while second marriages end at a rate of 60%. Those numbers sound scary to many couples considering marriage or who have just tied the knot. However, it is important to realize random forces don’t simply cause nearly half of all marriages to fail. Rather, couples divorce for very specific and common reasons, and not always the reasons you might think. Below are 8 of the most common reasons for divorce as well as advice for how you can protect your marriage from a similar fate.

Money Issues

Proper financial planning is essential to the success of a marriage. According to Janet Bodnar, Deputy Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, arguments over money are the leading cause of divorce in the country. In fact, couples are often so troubled by money and how to manage it that a survey in Redbook magazine found that 70% of couples talk about money related issues at least once a week.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: Sit down and talk to your spouse about each of your views on money how it should be used. If you find your financial goals are very similar, combining incomes and working toward goals together will likely be a stress-free and rewarding arrangement. If instead you find that you both have substantially different goals and objectives for your money (such as the spender vs. the saver) it would probably be best to set up a joint account for bills only and otherwise maintain separate, private accounts.


Staying faithful in a marriage can be difficult at times, which is why infidelity remains a leading cause of divorce among American couples. A recent poll by Divorce Magazine found that “23% of respondents claimed infidelity as the dominant factor in triggering their separations or divorces.” Infidelity shatters the trust couples earn for each other, and when you can no longer trust the person you’re married too, it’s a short slope to leaving them altogether.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: The key to avoiding infidelity is to keep the marriage open, honest, and fresh. Plan different, exciting dates with your spouse that break away from your normal routines and keep the relationship exciting. If a spouse is found to be cheating, marriage counseling is an alternative to divorce that has been shown to heal many damaged couples.

Spousal Abuse

Spousal abusive isn’t always the violent, physical outbursts that come to mind when we hear the term. It can be - but other times spousal abuse also encompasses verbal abuse such as belittling and name calling, or financial abuse such as repeatedly stealing from the spouse. Surprisingly, there are some spouses who voluntarily continue to live with spousal abuse for long periods of time, but more often than not such behavior eventually leads to divorce.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: If you are in a relationship where you believe you are being abused, you should either seek couples therapy or, unfortunately, remove yourself from the marriage. No one should live under abusive conditions, and if your spouse shows patterns of abuse you may be in danger of physical or psychological damage. If they refuse therapy, get out.

Controlling Behavior

This is a problem that newly weds should pay special attention to. While it is certainly true that married life requires sacrifices from both parties, this doesn’t mean that you two shouldn’t still maintain some level of independence. Controlling who your spouse sees, what they do and where they go will only serve to breed animosity and resentment within the relationship. This sort of behavior can make your partner feel smothered and trapped, which are precursors to fights that could potentially ruin the marriage.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: Jealousy has no place in a marriage, and unless you have very good reason to suspect something fishy is going on or feel totally neglected, you should allow your spouse to continue exploring themselves throughout the life of your marriage. If you feel as though your spouse has been spending far too much time away from you, sit them down and calmly discuss your concerns rather than trying to dictate how they should behave.

Drug/Alcohol Addiction

Drug and alcohol problems can tear a marriage to pieces due to financial and emotional stress the addiction puts on the partners. The pain of watching a loved one destroy themselves for the addiction that grips them can be too much to handle, as can the physical and emotional abuse brought on by cravings and withdrawal.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: It can be nearly impossible to live with an addict, but it is also a mistake to think that arguing with them about their problem is going to fix anything. Addiction is more than conscious will; it is a physical dependency that cannot always be severed by sheer will and love of a spouse. If you suspect that your spouse has a drug or alcohol addiction, you should encourage them to seek professional help.

Life Transitions

It sounds cliché to say it, but people change. The person you marry at 22 will not - at least in some respects- be the person you are married to at 32, or 40, or 55. It could be that as young adults you always agreed on having kids by 30, but by the time that age came career opportunities cause one partner to want to delay starting a family for another five years. Such transitions can cause the other partner feelings of confusion and anger over the realization that they are no longer on the same page.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: The big part of surviving in a long-term marriage is to grow together. Just because your dreams might change doesn’t mean both partners can’t find a happy middle-ground. The key to overcoming this obstacle is to learn the art of compromise. It is a mistake to believe that you can selfishly bend your partner’s point of view to your own without causing them pain and suffering that could seriously damage your relationship.

Different Life Agendas

Having very different plans for the future is bound to cause tension. If talks about the future leave one partner feeling like they need to give up their dreams so that the other can live theirs, feelings of hopelessness and entrapment can begin to take hold. How to spend your retirement, where to settle down and buy a home, what to buy with your accumulated incomes - these are all decisions that cannot be wholesale decided by one spouse without consideration for the others feelings.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: You and your spouse should regularly communicate about how you both see yourselves in the near future. Gauge how important starting a family, career advancement, social lives and the like are to you both. Having regular talks about your future plans will help you both maintain a firm grasp on the direction of the marriage, and will give you both the opportunity to discuss your dreams and goals with your partner.

Taking On Too Much At Once

Stress can not only shorten your life span, but can cause problems that shorten the length of your marriage as well. When you are first married, it is important to remember to pace yourselves and take things slow, as there is no pressing hurry to take on everything you want for the relationship at once. Put another way - trying to secure a mortgage for a house, start a new job, have a child, and move across the country at the same time is no way to kick off being married. The accumulated stress and pressure of these things can seriously weigh on you both and spawn hurtful arguments.

Avoiding this marriage pitfall: Remember that even though you and your spouse may have been dating for a long time, married life takes some adjusting to. Sit down with your spouse and plan out your short-term and long-term goals for the relationship. You can then focus on taking them on one at a time, pacing yourself as you go and enjoying your new life as a married couple.