Discover The 8 Top Reasons For Divorce


Top Reasons for Divorce

Discover The 8 Most Common Reasons Couples Decide to Divorce

top reasons for divorce

Comedian Chris Rock once joked, “Marriage is so tough, Nelson Mandela got divorced”. Right as he may be, there are a lot of misconceptions about divorce. Couples who are considering a divorce can arm themselves with the power of knowledge. When you learn important facts like factors that may increase the chance of divorce and the top reasons for divorce, it can give you the necessary confidence to make the best decision for your needs.


Interesting Facts and Statistics About Divorce



  • Maldives has the highest divorce rate in the world. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the island of Maldives has a divorce rate of 97 per every 1,000 people. The United States has the sixth highest divorce rate, at a rate of 4.34 per every 1,000 people.


  • The divorce rate in the United States is at a 40 year low. Based on a report from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, the divorce rate has dropped from 17.6 divorces per 1,000 married women to 16.9 in 2015.


  • Marriage rates have been at a 45 year low since 2010. The marriage rate has dropped 47%. It decreased from 61.4 per 1,000 unmarried women in 1980 to a rate of 32.3 marriages in 2015.


  • About half of all couples say they wish they or their ex-partner tried to work out their differences. A Utah study showed 31% of men surveyed wish they tried harder to save their marriage. 74% of the men surveyed said they wished their ex-wives had worked harder to reconcile their marriage.


The 8 Top Reasons for Divorce

reasons for divorce

People tend to cite more personal reasons for their divorce than the 8 factors we just mentioned. Research shows the most common reasons for divorce are:


  1. Lack of commitment (73%)

  2. Excessive arguments (56%)

  3. Infidelity (55%)

  4. Married too young (46%)

  5. Unattainable expectations (45%)

  6. Lack of equality in the marriage (44%)

  7. Lack of premarital preparation (41%)

  8. Abuse (29%)


The sum is over 100% because some people gave more than one reason for their divorce. What these statistics show us is that many of these issues can be overcome.


Now We Will Discuss Each of These Reasons for Divorce in Detail:

The Greatest Present


Commitment means staying together through the “worse” part of “for better or worse”. In a UCLA study of 172 married couples, the relationships in which both people were willing to compromise had a higher chance of satisfaction and success in their marriages. Why is commitment important in a relationship? Why the lack of commitment could be one of the reasons for divorce? You want to be able to look at the bigger picture together. The less a couple plans their goals together, the higher the chance of divorce.


Two Types of Commitment


There are two types of commitment involved in a marriage. Constraint brings up the feeling of “I have to”, and personal dedication is the “I want to” feeling.


  1. Constraint Commitment


Constraint commitment is what makes you feel obligated or trapped in your marriage. However, constraints are also what keep you from leaving your marriage at the first sign of conflict. Consider the following questions:

  • When you think about leaving, does it seem like you’re forced to stay married out obligation?
  • If your financial, social, etc. circumstances were better, would you still want to be married to your spouse?
  • Do you feel tied to your marriage because of your kids or family?
  • Do you find yourself saying, “If I could leave, I would leave?”

When you feel a high level of constraint as the only type of commitment in your marriage, it can be easy to think of yourself and your spouse as business partners instead of a couple.


  1. Personal Dedication


Personal dedication is a stronger type of commitment than constraint. It evokes feelings of loyalty, trust, sacrifice and priority. If you have a high level of personal dedication, you view you and your partner as a team, and think in terms of “Us” and “We”. Ask yourself:

  • Do you strive to improve your relationship in ways that will benefit both yourself and your spouse?
  • Are you willing to compromise for the sake of your marriage?
  • Do you take your partner’s needs into account when you make decisions?
  • Does the success of the relationship make you feel happy?

Feel like the efforts you make in your marriage are more trouble than they’re worth? This could be a sign that you’ve experienced a higher level of constraints but decreased personal dedication.


Overcoming Commitment Issues


  • Focus on the long term. No relationship is easy and fun 100% of the time. When you combine personal dedication with constraint, you’ll create a solid foundation of stability in your relationship.
  • Sort through the challenges. It’s worth it. Focus on the positive aspects of your marriage. Being willing to work on the issues in your marriage will result in a deeper bond with your partner. Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Be present with your partner. Commit to improving your marriage, instead of trying to escape it through infidelity or working late to avoid your spouse.
  • Think of all the good things about your spouse. It’s easy to keep a tally of what you do for your partner versus what their partner does for you. But you can’t keep track of your partner’s every move. If you keep score of who does what in the relationship, you’ll always feel like you do more for them than they do for you. Instead, focus on what you can bring to the relationship to make your spouse happy. Don’t forget to remember the good memories you both have shared.


The conflict could appear in many different forms. It could show up as arguments, disagreements, or tension between spouses.


The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse


Dr. John Gottman is an expert in relationship dynamics. He has described the conflict types below as the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” because of their negative impacts on a relationship:


  1. Criticism

This is an attack on the other person’s character. The motivation behind it is usually to assert who’s right and who’s wrong. Examples of criticism include:

  • Use of superlatives like “Always” or “Never”
  • “You’re the kind of person to...”
  • “I don’t get why you’re so...”


  1. Contempt

Contempt is an attempt to insult or show hostility toward your partner. Contempt could look like:

  • Name calling (“lazy”, “dumb”, etc.)
  • Sarcasm or mockery of the other person
  • Sneering
  • Eye rolls


  1. Defensiveness

This happens when you feel like a victim. Defensiveness makes you take steps to protect yourself from possible conflict. Examples of defensiveness include:

  • Matching your spouse’s complaint with one of your own
  • “I did X because you did Y...”
  • “It’s not fair...”
  • Excuses like “It’s not my fault...”
  • Repeating yourself without listening to your partner’s response


  1. Stonewalling

Stonewalling happens when one or both partners distance themselves in an attempt to avoid conflict. Stonewalling behaviors include:

  • Changing the subject
  • The silent treatment
  • Physically distancing yourself from your partner

Marriages aren’t successful because of some well-kept secret, or one or both partners being smarter or financially well-off. Instead of focusing on negative traits, they support on another. Rather than respond to your partner’s request with the attitude of “Yes, but...”, they think in terms of “Yes, and...”.


Infidelity is One of The Top Reasons for Divorce


What is infidelity? Infidelity is when one or both partners seek sexual or emotional intimacy outside of their relationship. It can show up in many different forms, including:

  • Long and short-term affairs
  • “Friends with benefits” type relationships
  • Internet relationships
  • One night stands


Recover From The Affair


Therapists use a 3 step process to help couples recover from infidelity:

  1. Deal With The Impact

Infidelity can shake a person to their core. At this point, it’s important to find ways to accept this information and function throughout everyday life.

  1. Understand Why it Happened

You need to understand the reason it occurred. Then, you need to discover how you can rebuild the sense of security and intimacy with your partner.

  1. Moving Forward

Whether as a couple or alone, you will need to move on from this event. If you choose to stay together, you both will need to discuss the good and bad parts of your relationship and develop a realistic outlook that you can share. The spouse who had the affair needs to figure out how to let go of their guilt. The spouse who was cheated on will need to find a way to let go of the temptation to punish their partner for what they did.


Your Marriage Can Survive an Affair


While it’s easy to say that infidelity is unforgivable, many couples have decided to work through their issues and stay together. Even though a large majority of people say they’d leave their spouse if they were unfaithful, research shows that 50-60% of married people opt to reconcile after an affair.


Celebrities like Macaulay Culkin, Olivia Wilde, Leann Rimes and Demi Moore all got married young. And none of them have remained married to those same partners. Even though teen marriage has decreased over the past half-decade, in the United States, 16% of men and 25% of women marry before age 23. Marrying too young remain one of the top reasons for divorce.


Why it May be a Good Idea to Wait


As amazing as it can feel to be in love, women who wed as teenagers are two-thirds more at risk of divorcing within 15 years of their wedding, versus women who wait to marry. In addition, a woman who marries young is 31% more likely to be economically disadvantaged when she’s older. If you still have goals you’d like to pursue, like finishing your education or traveling, it would be wise to put your wedding plans on hold.


What’s The Best Age to Marry?


Based on a study done by sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger, people who marry between the ages of 28 and 32 are less likely to get divorced. If you’re older than 32 or younger than 28, don’t worry; this just happens to be the norm based on data. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a happy, healthy marriage. People who marry in their late 20s or early 30s have more life experience than they did as teenagers. They have learned how to use their problem-solving abilities, which allows them to better handle the issues that arise in married life.


Even though we are raised to want the fairy tale we see in romantic movies, the “perfect marriage” doesn’t exist. We all have a picture in our heads of what the “ideal relationship” should look like. But this flawless image is unattainable. Don't let the unrealistic expectations become one the the reasons of divorce. Some things to think about:


  • Can you think of any unrealistic expectations you may have of yourself? Of your spouse? Of your marriage?
  • Does your partner have similar unattainable ideals?
  • Consider the difference between healthy, achievable goals and unrealistic standards you may hold for yourself.


You are not in a parent-child relationship. Both spouses are partners. Each of you has a right to share how they feel. How do you know if there’s a lack of equality in your marriage? You’ll feel like it’s up to you to handle the lion’s share of responsibilities and chores. When both spouses work together as a team, your satisfaction with your marriage is sure to increase. Collaborating will get the chores done quicker, and you may even have fun doing them together.


So many people plan their wedding down to very last detail. But a lot of couples fail to prepare for the marriage itself. Your wedding day will come and go, but your marriage will last (hopefully) for the rest of your life.


Why Should I Prepare For Marriage Beforehand?


Give your shared future a wonderful start by talking about it with your spouse. You’ll want to discuss your expectations with your partner so you can identify your strengths, learn which areas you need to improve and clarify what you can expect from one another.


Important Questions to Ask Before You Get Married




  • What financial goals do you want to achieve?
  • How much is our total combined debt?
  • How should we budget money?
  • Will we have joint or separate bank accounts?




  • Do you want to have kids? If so, how many?
  • When do you want to start having children?
  • What kind of parent do you want to be? For example, do you want to work from home or be home with the kids full-time, or would you prefer to work full-time and have childcare?




  • What are your career goals? How will you achieve them?
  • What sacrifices might you have to make in order to accomplish your career goals?
  • How can you support one another to achieve your professional goals?




  • What do you consider cheating?
  • Is emotional infidelity just as unacceptable as physical infidelity?
  • At what point would a line be permanently crossed?


Don’t Judge or Criticize Your Partner’s Responses


If you find you disagree on something, listen to what they say and make sure you fully understand before you respond. When you discuss these topics before getting married, you’ll see a big payoff in the future. You won’t be “sweating the small stuff” nearly as much because you’ll have an idea of how to handle challenges together.


Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their home life. When abuse is present in your marriage or family life, divorce may be the best option for everyone involved. Research has shown that there are two main types of violence that may occur within a relationship, which we will discuss below.


1. Situational or Common Couple Violence


  • Shouting, name-calling, pushing, shoving, kicking, etc.
  • Men and women are equally guilty of this
  • Men’s aggressive reactions when behaving this way can bring a sense of fear into the relationship
  • Usually doesn’t become more aggressive over time
  • Occurs due to high levels of stress
  • Can be overcome with effective problem-solving skills


2. Intimate Partner Terrorism


  • This type of violence is what comes to mind when abuse is discussed.
  • More severe than Situational Violence
  • Mostly men are guilty of this behavior
  • Poor impulse control and hostility toward women can be signs of intimate partner terrorism
  • Can be psychological, physical, or sexual force
  • If you suffer from this type of treatment, seek help, as it’s likely that you will need to leave your marriage