Ever heard someone say, “more divorces are caused by ______ than anything else” or “the top causes of divorce are _____, _____ and _____”? I did a quick Google search and here are the “top causes of divorce” from the first five “experts” I could find.
Note these are in descending order:
Society (makes it easy and “normal”)
Sexual Dysfunction/Lack of Sexual Relationships
Major life change
Adultery; Extramarital sex; Infidelity
Addictions, e.g. alcoholism and gambling
A lack of commitment to the marriage
A dramatic change in priorities
Failed expectations or unmet needs
Addictions and substance abuse
Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
Lack of conflict resolution skills
Forms of Abuse
Lack of commitment to the marriage
Lack of communication between spouses
Inability to manage or resolve conflict
Personality Differences or ‘irreconcilable differences’
Differences in personal and career goals
See any constancy there? The #1 cause is communication, lack of commitment, or financial issues. Money is first on one list, second on three lists, and 13th on the last list. Three lists make communication the number one cause, while the fifth list does not include it at all. Adultery is rated as 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. (I did not cherry pick these lists, they were the first five I found with more than three reasons given.)
In truth, there is no way to create a list giving the most common reasons for divorce. Very few divorces are for a single reason; most are more a straw that breaks the camel’s back kind of thing. The last issue may be mentioned to others, or the biggest issue might be mentioned. I suspect many share the reason that makes them look like a victim and their ex look like the villain.
My list of the primary cause of divorce is one word: selfishness. My bride’s one word list is much the same: sin.
Divorce happens because one or both spouses are not willing to do what it takes to have a good marriage. It is rarely all one person’s fault, but more often than not one spouse is far more destructive to the marriage than the other. The one who files for divorce may or may not be the one who is “most at fault”. The wife who files to protect her children from abuse and the husband who files due to on-going adultery are not the ones to “blame for the divorce”.
The real lie here is that divorce is a simple matter, like a disease with a clear cause and set course of infection. The death of a marriage is like dying from blood loss – it can be fast or slow, from one wound or many. If there are multiple wounds, fixing one helps, but may only prolong the process. Additionally, the blood loss can be external/visible or internal/unseen.
Fighting divorce starts with you and your bride. Be on the lookout for things hurting or draining your marriage. Deal with small things before they get big, and deal with big things as if your marriage depends on it – because it may.
Please also keep an eye on the marriages of your friends. Do not ignore clear signs of trouble; you could be part of saving a marriage. Maybe they will blow you off, but if they hear the same thing from several people they respect they may decide to act before it is too late. Do not stay silent out of fear or fear of anger – do something! If you do not speak up and they divorce, how will you feel then?