How to avoid the most common divorce reasons

Half of all marriages in America will end in separation. What are the most common divorce reasons and how can your marriage avoid them? According to a 17-year study from Pennsylvania State University published in 2003, the two leading self-reported divorce reasons among separating couples are:

  1. Infidelity
  2. Incompatibility

The following made up much smaller but still significant portions:

  1. Drinking or Drug use
  2. Grew Apart
  3. Personality Problems
  4. Lack of Communication
  5. Physical or Mental abuse
  6. Loss of love

Last year a study from the United Kingdom showed these divorce reasons haven’t changed much in the past 10 years, although they have slightly shuffled--respondents divorced primarily for “falling out of love” and infidelity fell to second place.

There are certainly cases where separation is the best option for all involved. This includes cases where drinking or drug abuse impacts the well being of the family, or in cases of physically or mentally abusive relationships. But what about all those other divorce reasons? Let’s take a closer look at a few of them:

  1. We just don’t communicate very well and can’t seem to resolve our conflicts. These are some of the most common complaints of divorcing couples.  Fortunately, collaborative communication and decision-making are skills that you can learn. Just as business professionals may take a course on negotiating, married individuals can learn similar skills for increasing positive collaboration and resolving conflict. These skills help you in all areas of life!
  2. I just don’t love him anymore. That first, heady phase of love is called infatuation and, according to some researchers, it lasts a maximum of 2 years. The nature of passion changes over time, sometimes spicy and vibrant, and other times a cooler. Simple habits and activities, though, can re-ignite the spark when you need it. Sexless marriage help is out there, and it works!
  3. He/she’s just not the same person I married. You are planning to be together for the rest of your lives—know that you both will change during your time together. Sometimes we do grow into people who are fundamentally incompatible. But many times what is important in marriage is knowing how to be each other’s cheerleader on your individual journeys. It’s ok to have different interests and beliefs.  Power of Two teaches you how to reconcile your differences instead of having them lead to separation or divorce.
  4. I don’t trust him/her anymore. He lied and made a bad decision, she gambled or cheated… people do make mistakes, and sometimes, yes, they are irreparable.  At the same time, most mistakes are learning opportunities that, with the right steps, will never be repeated. Get the skills to analyze your errors and prevent future repeats rather than giving up on yourself or your spouse.

Power of Two’s unique online marriage counseling program may be perfect for you. It combines the flexibility of a marriage help book with the personal attention of a certified marriage coach. Try a FREE 3 DAY TRIAL and start messaging your coach right away!

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.