Why Do People Get Divorced?

Why Do People Get Divorced?


Every marriage starts with a “honeymoon” phase. Life is good, the sex is great,and the time you spend together is precious. That phase ends when the couple has to start dealing with life on a day-to-day basis like paying the bills or something as monumental as purchasing a home together.

The question then arises, “What factors cause problems within marriage on a day-to-day basis?”

The top reasons given by ex-husbands and ex-wives were:

(1) lack of commitment
(2) too much conflict and arguing
(3) infidelity.” (DiCaro, 2005)

This is fine as far as it goes but what causes the lack of commitment, the conflict, and the infidelity? According to Americans for Divorce Reform (2008) (ADR), there are a number of factors that correlate with divorce. These are:


Getting married too young is a key predictor of a later divorce. In the United States, nearly 50% all people who marry under the age of 18 and 40% under the age of 20 end up divorced. The rate goes down considerably to only 24% for people who marry after the age of 25” (ADR. 2008).

Within the UK, divorce rates amongst the 25-29 age range was at least twice the average of all other age groups.

The theories behind this are many and varied from the view that celebrity “starter” marriages are to blame to the fact that society itself has changed and that people’s lives no longer stay in a stationary and stable manner anymore. Careers change more quickly, and the modern message of everyone should have more choice, freedom and ambition is at odds with the more traditional view of settling down.


Marriages where partners shared the same religion consistently show greater marital adjustment, more perceived benefits from marriage, decreased marital conflict, more verbal collaboration, and less use of verbal aggression and stalemate to discuss disagreements for both wives and husbands”(ADR. 2008).

However, marriages where the religious beliefs of each spouse are different can cause a great deal of conflict and friction, both between the married couple and with the surrounding family members. The marriage that survives it is a rare one indeed.


There has been no in-depth research on this topic. However, specific groups such as the military and the police force do show higher than normal divorce rates. This could be due to the sheer amount of stress involved in this type of occupation.

Or maybe it’s simply due to the amount of trauma to which they are subjected whilst on the job. This type of trauma can affect everyone around them – their colleagues and especially their families. It can be extremely hard for them to switch off when they are eventually home.


“Within the United States, divorce rates tend to be higher in the South,” said Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. “In contrast, in the Northeast (where there) are fewer divorces” (US Census Bureau, 2011). Regional differences were also observed in a study done in Czechoslovakia (Veres, 1987).


This was once a real problem amongst couples where ethnic division was concerned. This factor no longer plays the part in the divorce rates that it once did.

Society is far more accepting of mixed marriages now which plays a major part in the reduction of stress in said marriages.

Unrealistic expectations

Couples who think their relationship is perfect are just setting themselves up to be knocked down once the wedding cake has been eaten and the honeymoon is over. Nothing is perfect and no one is perfect.

The best marriages are those built on the realization that each person has flaws and that, if you can, it is best to accept them just as you would expect your partner to accept yours.


People with economic disadvantages tend to have marriages that are substantially more unstable. Lack of money or a stable income can increase stress levels dramatically, especially when it impacts the payment of rent, mortgage or the household bills. Arguments ensue and marriages fall apart.


Unmarried cohabitations overall are less stable than marriages. There is a higher risk, 40 to 85%, of divorce between couples cohabiting before marriage than couples waiting until after marriage to share a home together”(ADR. ibid).

It is believed by some that the longer men and women live together, the more likely they are to divorce further down the road.


Marriages where one or both partners are alcoholics show high rates of divorce. Alcoholism can lead to anxiety, depression, loss of employment, violence and a myriad of other things. Any, or all, of these can lead a married couple down the path of destruction affecting any children involved.

Alcoholic parents

Adults who grew up with an alcoholic parent are a third more likely to end up divorced” (ADR, Ibid). This may result from unresolved issues of growing up with an alcoholic parent. As mentioned earlier, this could be related to anxiety, depression or even violence within the family home.

Children of divorce getting divorced

Children of divorce are becoming less likely to marry. It is believed that this is because they have seen what their parents went through (even if it happened to be a low-conflict divorce) and a good majority of these children do not want to endure the trials and the tribulations that their parents did.

For those children who do get married as adults, the odds are high that they will end up divorced, too. This could be for reasons of mistrust of others, worry that they will end up the same way (which in fact encourages the stress levels and, in turn, does lead to a divorce).

The ADR also found one factor that helped to increase the success of marriage. “Couples who attend premarital courses tend to communicate better, solve problems and report better relationships than those who do not, say a study in the April 2003 issue of the journal, Family Relations. The increase in “marital strength is about 30%”(ADR. Ibid).

The bottom line is that these are all external factors that will affect a long-term marriage. For example, if you a pot-smoking, liberal, white female from California, then you really shouldn’t marry a man who is a devoted, Sunni Muslim, from Iraq!

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