Why Most Divorces Aren’t Caused by Infidelity or Abuse:
This is an opinion based article about the major causes of divorce, written after years of working with divorcing clients. There is no scientific research to back up what I’m about to share, just thoughts and opinions I’ve gathered during my career as a Divorce Coach/Consultant.
I often hear people say they are divorcing due to infidelity or “growing apart,” or better yet, “I fell out of love” with my spouse. I’ve often wondered if these people who cheat, grow in a different direction or fall out of love ever think about what got them to the point of divorce in the first place.
How or better yet, why do people go from happily married to divorced? Something happens between these two points and it has very little to do with infidelity or falling out of love and everything to do with the two people who are a party to the marriage and their inability to recognize when their marriage started going bad.
The 3 Major Causes of Divorce:
People don’t want to work at marriage. There is a misguided belief that marriage will make us happy. As if marriage is a separate entity, something outside ourselves that will survive and thrive with little input from a husband and wife.
Women plan huge weddings; throw bridal showers and go into marriage not having any idea what marriage is. Men find a woman to care for, adore and work to take care of only to find himself married to someone who only wants more and then a little more after that.
What happens when both become disillusioned with their marriage?
They start looking outside themselves to define the problems in the marriage instead of looking at the situation and asking, “What can I do to make things better?”
Blame seems to be the path of least resistance. It is easier to blame a spouse or marriage in general than to take responsibility for how they are living inside their marriage and what possible changes they may need to make that will allow a marriage to flourish.
People are too lazy to do the self-exploration, learn better relationship skills and put the needed personal effort into a marriage. Bottom line, marriage takes hard work and if you aren’t committed to working hard a marriage won’t last.
- Lack of Communication Skills:
Pure and simple, people don’t know how to talk to each other and they know even less about listening. The most important conversations people have are with a spouse yet they put so little effort into wisely expressing their feelings and openly listening to their spouse.
It is also common for spouses to want to avoid conversation they fear will cause them or their spouse pain. If you can’t communicate, you can’t solve marital problems. The easiest way to build trust in a marital relationship is via open and honest communication skills. If TALKING and LISTENING don’t become a habit there is no hope.
Communication involves talking about the bad things and coming together to develop a plan of action for solving marital problems. Marital problems can’t be solved without a willingness to communicate. You’ll end up with unresolved problems, an unfulfilling marriage and questioning whether “that’s all there is” to marriage.
Poor or no communication will lead to growing apart, it will also impact your children because you aren’t setting a good example for them.
If you aren’t able to communicate about the good AND bad in your marriage, there is no way to feel fully secure in the marriage.
- High Expectations:
As Sam Walton said, “High expectations are the key to everything” unless of course, we are talking about marriage. Expectations and laziness can go hand in hand when it comes to predicting whether a marriage will end in divorce.
That woman who buys the expensive wedding gown probably also has very high expectations of marriage. Men and women both make a lot of assumptions when it comes to marriage and what to expect from a marriage. These assumptions are based on many variables and problems arise when the outcome (marriage) doesn’t meet the assumptions or expectations.
Marital expectations rarely align with the realities of what life is like inside marriage.
I’ll give you an example of unmet expectations from my own marriage. Women are taught by society that men want sex, that men think about sex and that sex is just second nature to men. According to society, if you marry a man you can expect that man to want sex with you.
I married a man who defined his own rules when it came to sex. He didn’t think about sex, it was not second nature to him and since he married a woman who expected her husband to desire her sexually it goes without saying that there were problems in the marriage, problems that lead to divorce.
If he had communicated to me before marriage his lack of desire for sex I would not have married him. You see, this is where communication and expectations play a role in the outcome of marriages. Communication before marriage can keep down any unrealistic expectations one may have of marriage.
In conclusion, it is my belief that divorce is not about infidelity or unhappiness. Divorce can be and is avoided by those willing to work hard at marriage, those who know how to effectively communicate and those whose expectations are realistic.
Nine times out of ten if a husband or wife cheats they cheat as a result of problems in the marriage. Problems that could have been solved if the work has been done, there had been communication and realistic expectations. The same goes for those who say they “grew apart” or, “fell out of love”. Marriages have to be nurtured, if not they fall victim to a myriad of problems. Are you nurturing your marriage?