When you ask your Bethesda neighbor why he got divorced, he might tell you that it was because of infidelity. If you were to ask his former spouse, she might tell you that the split occurred because of the endless arguments over matters large, small and in between.
Researchers delve into the reasons why marriages end, in hopes of helping couples learn to improve coping skills.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) polled individuals who had been through PREP (prevention and relationship enhancement program) on their top reasons for the divorce.
Interestingly, even though they’d been through PREP, 13.3 percent of respondents cited a lack of premarital education as a reason why their marriages failed.
“I probably wish that we would have had more premarital counseling and had somebody tell us we should not be getting married,” said one participant.
While that might be a surprising factor in divorces, you might be able to guess at many of the other top reasons why couples split.
Top Ten Reasons for Divorce
- Religious differences: 13.3 percent
According to a Pew Center survey, 69 percent of couples are in same-religion marriages. Couples in interfaith relationships are not as happy as those who share a religion with their spouse.
- Lack of family support: 17.3 percent
A 26-year study of 373 couples found that when husbands develop close relationships with his wife’s family, the risk of divorce dropped 20 percent. However, when the wife develops a close relationship with her husband’s family, the risk of divorce increases.
- Health problems: 18.2 percent
A marriage counselor interviewed by Health.com said, “Illnesses create debt and pain and loss of self. It can mean one partner isn’t able to maintain his or her part of the deal . . . some couples will be better at dealing with that than others.”
- Domestic violence: 23.5 percent
Nearly one-fourth of NCBI survey participants said physical and emotional abuse was a major component in their divorce.
- Substance abuse: 34.6 percent
Half of the individuals polled by NCBI said substance abuse was a problem in their marriage.
- Financial problems: 36.1 percent
Unsurprisingly, money problems add stress and tension to relationships.
- Getting married too young: 45.1 percent
- Too much conflict and arguing: 57.7 percent
Many couples reported that as communication problems increased, so did feelings that positive connections and mutual support were being lost.
- Infidelity or extramarital affairs: 59.6 percent
The study stated that “infidelity was often cited as a critical turning point in a deteriorating relationship.”
- Lack of commitment: 75 percent
Three-quarters of those surveyed said a lack of commitment played a major role in the unraveling of their marriage.
Even if you don’t see the reasons why your marriage is ending on the list, attorneys experienced in family law have seen all of these and many other serious matters cited in divorces.