What causes divorce?
I’m going to spend a few days talking about why divorce happens. The more we know about why it happens, the better we can avoid it. Note that this is not about what are and are not acceptable reasons for divorce, but rather about the reasons divorces happen. Being divorced for an unbiblical reason is not really any better or less painful than being divorced for a biblically sound reason.
Finding a definitive list of causes of divorce seems impossible. One “study” lists abuse as the number one reason women divorce, while the next gives ten reasons for divorce and does not include a listing that includes abuse in any way. Asking people why they divorce is problematic – the husband and the wife will often give very different answers, and for reasons of shame and pride, it’s likely one or both will lie – or at least “spin” the truth in a way that obscures the truth.
Money has long been cited as a primary cause of divorce, but the MSN article Money isn’t the culprit in most divorces strongly challenges this idea. Jan Andersen wrote his doctoral dissertation on this issue, and fully expected to find that money problems were a major factor in divorces. Instead, the only strong link he could find between divorce and money came from a study done in 1948! Certainly money problems cause stress, and that stress is sometimes enough to kill a marriage that would otherwise survive; but it seems money alone is rarely the cause, or a primary cause, of divorce.
One article I found made the excellent point that most divorce is caused by “Lack Of”. A lack of trust, a lack of respect, a lack of sex, and so on.
In my mind divorce is the cumulative result of failing to act quickly and decisively as problems arise. While something like an affair can cause a sudden desire for a divorce, most divorces are a result of many things over months and years. Most divorce is the death of a marriage by 1000 cuts. Failure to deal with things results in ever-increasing resentment, frustration, anger and/or despair. Left unchecked, this is a divorce in slow motion.
One very good way to avoid divorce, or never even get close to it, is to stay current with problems. Keep working on a problem until it is resolved to the satisfaction of both of you. If you can’t resolve something alone, get help. Don’t let fear or pride kill your marriage!
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