by Shellie R Warren- author, writer, marriage life coach and doula- from Marriage .com
Marriage isn’t always easy and the sad reality is that not all “I do’s” end with a happily ever after no matter how much two people may love each other. It’s estimated that 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages, and 60 percent of second marriages in the United States, end in divorce. This can be hard to grasp for someone who is about to get married or happily married.
So how does this happen?
What are the real reasons for divorce?
Let’s look at the 10 most common reasons for divorce in hopes that you can learn from the mistakes of others.
Top 10 Reasons for Divorce:
Extra-marital affairs are responsible for the breakdown of most marriages that end in divorce. The reasons why people cheat aren’t as cut and dry as our anger may lead us to believe. Anger and resentment are common underlying reasons for cheating, along with differences in sexual appetite and lack of emotional intimacy. Infidelity often begins as a seemingly innocent friendship, says cheating expert Ruth Houston. “It starts as an emotional affair which later becomes a physical affair.”
Money makes people funny, or so the saying goes, and it’s true. Everything from different spending habits and financial goals to one spouse making considerably more money than the other, causing a power struggle can strain a marriage to the breaking point. “Money really touches everything. It impacts people’s lives,” said Emmet Burns, brand marketing director for SunTrust. Clearly, money and stress do seem to go hand in hand for many couples.
3. Lack of communication
Communication is crucial in marriage and not being able to communicate effectively quickly leads to resentment and frustration for both, impacting all aspects of a marriage. On the other hand, good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. Yelling at your spouse, not talking enough throughout the day, making nasty comments to express yourself are all unhealthy methods of communication that need to be ditched in a marriage. Practicing mindful communication, to change age-old marriage mistakes, can be hard but it’s well worth the effort to improve and save your relationship.
4. Constant arguing
From bickering about chores to arguing about the kids; incessant arguing kills many relationships. Couples who seem to keep having the same argument over again often do so because they feel they’re not being heard or appreciated. Many find it hard to see the other person’s point of view, which leads to a lot of arguing without ever coming to a resolution.
5. Weight gain
It may seem awfully superficial or unfair, but weight gain is a common reason for divorce. In some cases a significant amount of weight causes the other spouse to become less physically attracted while for others, weight gain takes a toll on their self-esteem, which trickles into issues with intimacy.
6. Unrealistic expectations
It’s easy to go into a marriage with lofty expectations; expecting your spouse and the marriage to live up to your image of what they should be. These expectations can put a lot of strain on the other person, leaving you feeling let down and setting your spouse up for failure.
7. Lack of intimacy
Not feeling connected to your partner can quickly ruin a marriage because it leaves couples feeling as though they’re living with a stranger or more like roommates than spouses. This can be from a lack of physical or emotional intimacy and isn’t always about sex. If you are constantly giving your spouse the cold shoulder, then know that over time it can become the grounds for divorce. Making your relationship intimate and special is the responsibility of both partners. Practice little acts of kindness, appreciation and enjoy physical intimacy as much as possible to sweeten your relationship.
8. Lack of equality
When one partner feels that they take on more responsibility in the marriage, it can alter their view of the other person and lead to resentment. Every couple must negotiate through their own and unique set of challenges, and find their own way of living together as two equals who enjoy a respectful, harmonious and joyful relationship.
9. Not being prepared for marriage
A surprising number of couples of all ages have blamed not being prepared for married life for the demise of their relationship. Divorce rates are highest among couples in their 20’s. Almost half the divorces occur in the first 10 years of marriage; especially high is the rate between the fourth and eighth anniversary.
Physical or emotional abuse is a sad reality for some couples. It doesn’t always stem from the abuser being a “bad” person; deep emotional issues are usually to blame. Regardless of the reason, no one should tolerate abuse and removing yourself from the relationship safely is important.
No marriage is easy. Even couples with the best intentions are sometimes unable to overcome their challenges and end up in court rooms. That’s why it’s important to address issues in your relationship early on. Don’t wait until they are beyond fixing. Practice kindness, make intimacy a priority, go on holidays and seek marriage counseling (even when things are fine) to preserve the health and longevity of your relationship. Try your very best before you decide that things are beyond your control and it is time to give up. That way you can have the peace of knowing you tried all of the alternatives before the big step.