The Top Ten Reasons for Divorce

This post may contain affiliate links for companies I trust and/or purchase from myself. This means I make a small commission from your purchase. While this does not change your price, it does garner my heartfelt thanks. Read our full disclosure here.

I’ll be honest. I’m a little sad and frustrated today.

In the past few months I’ve been blown away by how many couples we know who are divorcing, separating, or heading very quickly in that direction.

And it’s not only people I’m acquainted with – it’s all over the country.

It makes me shake my head. Especially when I read that marriages ending in divorce lasted an average of 9.8 years. (9.8 years!) That’s like shutting off a movie after watching the previews. You haven’t even gotten started!

I believe there are biblical reasons for divorce (infidelity), but I honestly think the majority of divorces boil down to one reason: selfishness.

On both parts.

Why do I think selfishness plays such a role? Here are the ‘latest’ top 10 reasons for divorce:
1. We grew apart
2. We don’t make each other happy anymore
3. We aren’t in love anymore
4. It’s better for the kids if we divorce
5. I grew up but he/she stayed the same
6. We’re different people than when we got married
7. It isn’t fun anymore
8. I found a new person who really understands me
9. He/she let him/herself go
10. I deserve to be happy

One couple in our acquaintance decided to separate after 6 years of marriage. Their reason: they discovered they were best friends. What? Am I the only person who doesn’t understand that?

Now, I’m not a fly on the wall, so I can’t say what goes on in a person’s home. But I’ll be honest – about 10 of those top ten reasons make me want to grab someone and shake them.

Okay, let me back up and be a little more gracious. I know there are very real difficulties in marriage. No marriage is perfect. What I’m saying is don’t throw in the towel so quickly.

When a couple get to know one another, they’re on their best behavior. Smiling, opening doors, and going out of their way to be considerate. Care is taken in what they wear, how they look, what they say, and how they express themselves.

Then they get married.

9.8 years later they’re getting divorced because neither of them are thinking of each other anymore. The consideration and care they once showed isn’t important to them anymore.

#1 – We grew apart.
Growing apart means you’re not asking him how his day went and actually putting the phone down to look him in the eyes while he tells you about the frustrating day he’s had.

Growing apart means you’re going to work for eight hours while she carts the kids to school, activities, and comes home to clean. You go out to play basketball with your buddies for three hours while she shops at the mall. When you both come home she opens a book while you log onto the net.

Growing apart means there’s no communication.

#2 – We don’t make each other happy anymore.
When was the last time you tried to make him happy? Really tried – for more than a few days. Did you kiss him hello when he got home? Did you have his favorite dinner ready? Did you sit with him on the couch and touch his knee while he talked to you? What can you do to show him he’s loved?

When was the last time you went out of your way to make her happy? I don’t mean all those over-rated romantic movie scenes, but simple everyday things. Did you start a load of laundry without her asking? Did you sit down with your 6th grader and help him with his math while she cared for the crying baby? Did you surprise her with a gift certificate for a massage? What can you do to show her she’s appreciated?

#3 – We aren’t in love anymore.
Love is overrated. Most people think love is the butterflies and the romantic movie-love Hollywood has brainwashed us with. That’s not love. Not the kind that lasts “till death do us part”. Love is a choice.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

#4 – It’s better for the kids if we divorce.
I’d have to disagree. It’s better for the kids to see you sitting across the table from each other, holding hands and talking rather than yelling across the room when they’re ‘sleeping’.

It’s better for you to ask your kids, “what can we do to surprise mommy when she comes home today?”

It’s better for the kids to see hugs, gestures, and signs of affection – even if they’re not returned.

It’s better for kids to hear, “oops, dad forgot to take out the garbage last night. He must have had a lot on his mind. Let’s do it for him.” instead of “isn’t that just like your dad, leaving the garbage all over the place again.”

#5 – I grew up but he/she stayed the same.
What do you think he/she would rather hear? “Grow up! Act your age – I have three kids already, I don’t want another one!”

or “Hey sweetie, I know you really like to do _________ or go __________, so I was thinking, what if we compromised and went where you’d like for the afternoon and then next Saturday we can try someplace new.”

#6 – we’re different people than when we got married.
Adapt.

#7 – It isn’t fun anymore.
Okay, here’s some tough love: Love isn’t about ‘fun’. A healthy relationship doesn’t just happen. Life is work. Love is work. Raising kids is work. Happily ever after doesn’t start just because you walk down the aisle. Your attitude, your selflessness, and your actions make your marriage work. If you’re not having fun, redefine what fun means and decide what’s more important.

#8 – I found a new person who really understands me.
Unfind them. Don’t go crying on your co-worker’s shoulder about how bad your husband is. If you want your relationship with your husband to change, talk to him about it. Don’t go near the marriage-wrecker with a ten-foot pole.

At one time your wife was the person who really understood you, remember? It was probably because you talked to her. Create a date night once a week or every two weeks and just talk. Share your thoughts, your concerns, and your ideas. She can’t understand you if you don’t let her in. And then let her talk.

#9 – He/she let him/herself go.
Did your wife gain weight after the kids? Is she 60 lbs. heavier than when you met her? Is your husband a couch potato with a big gut and sweatpants? Then help them get themselves back. Instead of, “who ate this whole bag of chips? You again!” how about “hey honey, let’s go for a walk. I just want to hold your hand for awhile.”

Don’t bring home donuts and ice cream. Start cooking healthier and doing more physical activities as a couple or a family. Losing weight isn’t easy.

Be an encourager in any way you can and don’t give up.

#10 – I deserve to be happy.
Happiness is an interesting word. Do you mean, “I deserve everything I want” or were you really thinking about the joy in making someone else happy?

I’ll be the first to admit that changing your thoughts and attitudes toward someone isn’t easy. We’re all selfish; it’s human nature. Ask God to help you stop those hurtful and bitter thoughts and replace them with loving and supportive ones. What you think will eventually come out of your mouth.

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

Two of the best books Travis and I have read on marriage are The Complete Husband and The Excellent Wife. I can’t tell you how much we love and appreciate these books.

One last thought: someone once told us that marriage is like a triangle. God is at the top and you and your spouse are on each bottom corner. The closer you each become to God, the closer you become to each other.

Don’t underestimate God’s plan for marriage.

P.S. What books or Biblical principals have made a difference in your marriage?

 

Shared at: Time-Warp Wife, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, We Are That Family, Milk and Cuddles, Simply Sweet Home, Far Above Rubies, Celebrating Family, The Modest Mom, Growing Home, Raising Mighty Arrows, Deep Roots at Home, Our Simple Country Life, Comfy in the Kitchen, Little Natural Cottage, Our Simple Farm, Christian Mommy Blogger,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Paula
I’m Paula - like many of you I wear a lot of hats. Child of God, wife of 18 years, mother of five, reluctant cook, full-time teacher, chocolate-snatcher, and children's author. Various family health issues including Lyme disease and candida has turned me into a 'researcher'. I don't have initials after my name, a degree in anything but motherhood, or a framed certificate on my wall. What I do have is a passion for understanding how our God-created bodies thrive or deteriorate based on what we put in it. Oh, and I also might mention homesteading, homeschooling, fitness, herbs, faith, and anything else I'm thinking about. . . like wow, I need to refill my tea. . .
Paula
Paula
Paula

Latest posts by Paula (see all)

Cloth Diaper Guide

Comments

  1. Misty says

    I wrote about this very topic a few weeks ago. I feel exactly the same!! I've been married for 21 years and I completely understand the difficulties but marriage is a roller coaster not a fairy tale. There are ups and downs. The key ingredient that's missing in a lot of people's marriage is commitment. You made a vow…."til death do us part"…not "as long as I find you entertaining"!!

  2. Anonymous says

    Assuming lots of people who will read this are going thru marriage difficulties–like myself– I'll share what has helped me thru these past couple years of separation from my husband…

    The Lord. He has carried me thru the battle every step of the way. He has led me to scriptures about marriage and opened my eyes to things I've done wrong in the past. And He's offered forgiveness.

    One resource that has really helped is http://www.rejoiceministries.org. It's a Biblical stand for marriage.

    Thanks for your post. You're right about all the reasons.

  3. Paula says

    Misty – I laughed out loud at "as long as I find you entertaining" you hit the nail on the head!

    awomanforhim – wow, you have a great article. Thanks for such timely advice we all need to hear.

    Anonymous – I completely agree with you. God should be the focus of every marriage: without Him we could do nothing.

  4. MrsP says

    You have hit it, particularly the concept that we deserve happiness, because the corollary to that is that your spouse is responsible for that happiness. So, if I'm not happy, it must be my spouse's fault. The saddest part is that, after the divorce, we have carted our unhappiness with us (which was not our spouse's problem in the first place) into the next relationship.

  5. graceandgritforlivinglife says

    Excellent article. Certainly found some food for thought in there. Feb will be 20 years of marriage for me, and I am realizing that marriage is something we can't take for granted….that other person is a part of us, and loving them is loving ourselves and honoring God.

  6. Nora@The Dollar Hollering Homemaker says

    Great Post. I had a friend divorce after one year because he didn't make enough money for her. We are only into our 3rd year of marriage but in our first year alone my husband almost died from the swine flu, i got cancer, suffered a job loss, etc. So we both got over much of our selfishness real quickly:) I'm certainly a different person then when I was first married but I would like to think I am a better person thanks to the lessons I've learned (and will continue to learn) from my marriage.

  7. Anonymous says

    As a child of divorce, I'd have to disagree with you on point #4. My parents getting divorced was one of the best things they've ever done for me and for themselves. Their marriage was beyond loveless at the end–it was toxic. They didn't get married for the right reasons (my mother was pregnant with me when they married).

    I'm grateful that they split when I was eight instead of "staying together for the kids" because their staying married would have scarred me far more than them breaking up. Once love or infatuation spawns into hate, it's done.

  8. Paula says

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Children of divorced parents (and I am one of them) don't have it very easy. (My parents were also married because my mom was pregnant.)

    It's hard to see two people we love at odds with each other. Everyone wants the fighting and stress to end and we feel it would be just be easier if they went their separate ways.

    But in writing point #4 I wanted to emphasis that parents think about what they're showing their children. To say "let's divorce so the kids don't have to see us fighting" is sometimes an easy way out.

    Instead of teaching their children that if they don't get along with someone they should 'give up' per se, teach them how to show unconditional love. Instead of divorcing the person they've vowed to love and cherish – love and cherish them.

    CHOOSING to love someone is HARD. But by putting aside their own wants and desires, by PURPOSEFULLY change bitter thoughts into loving thoughts, and be being an example to their children, often times the love that turned to hate, will turn back to love.

    • lynda says

      I, like anonymous, was grateful for my parents divorcing. But now, as a later-in-life Christian, I have more complicated feelings. My first marriage ended in divorce. The second time around I worked very hard to not fall into the same traps, but drastic problems I couldn’t cope with kept arising. As much as I didn’t want a second divorce, I was starting to think it was the only way. Then God got a hold of both of us. Now I firmly believe that no matter what we go through, we will never get divorced because we both understand that God is the key ingredient. (And he’s so good to remind us gently when our zeal for one another drifts off.)

      Having said that, neither of my parents had the knowledge of that strength to rely on, nor did I in my first marriage. Had I known, I know my first marriage could have worked. (my parents have both passed on) But since we can’t force people to bring God into their marriage (much to my chagrin!), I pray my heart out every time I see a couple moving that direction, as I’m sure you do too. I pray that they will come to depend on Jesus in a transformative, “renewing mind” kind of way (even if they’re already Christians) since that’s the only way to truly overcome the worst of anything anyway. :) My parents marriage was a train wreck, but I’ve come to know God as God of the Impossible. But they didn’t understand what God could do with their marriage, or have the luxury of others praying for them. It seems that’s the way with so many these days, since people are getting further and further from God. It’s sad to me, and yet also a call to be ever reaching out to non-believers and lukewarm Christians.

      Just recently discovered your site, btw, and love it, thanks. :)

  9. Rebekka says

    This post is awesome! I totally agree. My absolute favorite marriage book for ladies is "Sacred Influence" Gary Thomas.

  10. Amy says

    I love your take on how to turn around these top 10 reasons for divorce. I've seen situations where a couple separated due to abuse or infidelity, but the majority of divorces/separations I see are not for these reasons and it makes me sad to see marriages end.

  11. Anonymous says

    I don't have a book or article to share, but something else. First, how it came about: after 22 years of (mostly VERY good) marriage, my husband gave me a large check and divorce papers. I was flabbergasted, and had no idea this was coming. None of his friends had an idea either. I grieved, cried, wound up in the hospital and then following up with our (mutual) general practitioner, who having seen my husband and then hearing the news, said "This man is depressed." Thank God in heaven for putting the right people in our lives. My husband began medication, and then asked to come back home. We talked like we haven't in years (rather, he talked, since I ALWAYS talk). Five months later, we are together, happy, in counseling, and working together again. However, and here is my point, he cited #2, 6, 7, and 10 as reasons for serving me with divorce papers. I guess my point is that sometimes, these reasons are given, but the real reason is hidden even from the person who instigates the divorce.

    Having said this, had I lashed out in anger or tried to hide my grief at the death of our marriage, or tried to "exact revenge", we would have never been reunited. Because I loved him, and believed that he is the man God designed for me, I was ready for him to return and he felt the grace of being loved. All the rebuttals you make are relevant and good, but sometimes, it takes more than just working at a relationship. Sometimes, it is a chemical, physical problem that needs treatment.

    Great article, and I agree with all of it wholeheartedly.

  12. Paula says

    Anonymous – Thank you for opening up and sharing such a painful part of your life. I'm so glad you're back together and happily working it out!

    I agree that much of how we function is related to body chemistry and physical issues – think of post-partum depression. It effects everything – our moods, our hormones, even how we think things through.

    Thank you for the reminder to not give up on our spouses.

  13. Lovingmama says

    I try to remember that my hubbie is amazing and try to make daily efforts to do or say positive things. Having a loving supportive relationship is so benefitial. As you said, no marraige is perfect. It does take work to keep the spark alive and stay connected.

  14. Janice says

    Well said! It is so sad to see all of these divorces especially among Christians. Great post. This post got the most clicks on Family Time Tuesday and will be featured when I get this week's post up tonight or in the morning.

    Janice
    Celebrating Family

  15. Abigail says

    I love this post! My husband and I have been married for 7 1/2 years, and it's not always easy, but we made the commitment and we're sticking to it, and each other.

    My sister has been through a divorce, because time and time again my former brother in law chose to wander. Now she is married to a wonderful man who loves her and their children (including her son from the previous marriage) and is devoted and supportive of her.

  16. Robin says

    Unfortunatly I'm seeing quite a bit of seperations/divorces/or ones headed that way around my neck of the woods too :( It's very sad/devestating. Great post!

  17. AmberRay says

    Great post! I love it. I also suffer from depression and I told my husband that when I am unhappy it is not because of him. He does make me happy because I love him. I praise God for helping me realize the real reason I am sometimes unhappy. Also about #4 I understand exactly what you are saying. On one hand it was best that my mom divorced my dad because he was an abusive alcoholic on the other hand if he had gotten the help that he needed and showed us a healthy marriage it would have helped all 3 of us kids in life tremendously. But, you cannot force someone to get help it has to be their choice. Thanks again for a great post! I have been married to my husband for almost 7 years and I love him so much that I don't want to ever give up on us. We have 3 great children together and I have one son from a previous relationship.

  18. Alana of Domestic Bliss Diaries says

    Amen! Thank you for pointing out that all of these reasons, *ahem*, make that excuses, are selfishness at its finest. I also wanted to tell you that I enjoyed reading this because of your writing style. You didn't sugar coat the truth and your witty sense of humor came through. :)

  19. L says

    This is wonderful, thanks for sharing =) =)
    We are still newlyweds (married for almost 2yrs) so I havnt read that many books yet, but I hope to continue reading and learning about it =)
    My favorite so far is Love & Respect by Dr Emerson Eggerichs. I found it to be very revealing about the way each other thinks and responds to things and how we are different, also giving wonderful ideas about how to enjoy being different.
    Thanks so much for your wisdom!
    Much Love,
    L

    allglorious-within.blogspot.com

  20. Meghan says

    You can never know what goes on in another person's marriage. Just because they tell you one of those "top ten" reasons, doesn't mean it's the whole story. I think it's better just to listen, even if you don't understand or agree, than to judge someone else. Not everyone who gets divorced is selfish.

    And yes, I am very happily married.

  21. Alecia says

    My husband and I are reading through Love and Respect as mentioned above. The book is good so far, but we just started. Marriage is hard and not for the faint of heart, I'm understanding this more and more, but not willing to give up on it.

  22. Nicole says

    Divorce is so painful- for the couple, any children or close people related and involved, and society as a whole. Thank you for posting this and showing how ridiculous these reasons are! Love is definitely not easy, but it is a choice we made at our wedding. I also hear some people say, "they're just not the right person." Well, when you married them they BECAME the right person!

    Blessings,
    Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker

  23. Anonymous says

    :I wish I could direct my folks to this post. There are times I'm puzzled that they're still married after 38 years. They don't fight all that much, but neither do they do much together or communicate much. It's pretty frequent that one says something (innocuous things, like "I'm planning to do this" or "Your uncle called") to me and not to the other. I'm an onlly child, but I live 350 miles from them!
    When my husband is home, as opposed to deployment time, we do try to do things together when we can. Pretty limited hours given military life, so we play a lot of board games. Still….

    Katie G

  24. says

    I LOVE this!!! You are just spot-on! I too have been very discouraged seeing several friends – all of them Christians – divorce for some of the reasons you’ve listed above. Thanks for being so direct and challenging this mindset.

  25. says

    This is such a great post! I love your responses to the top ten reasons why people get divorced. I’m so grateful for people like you who speak out with grace and passion to protect the covenant of marriage. And thanks for linking this up at Fellowship Fridays!

  26. says

    I’m so with you. 9.8 years is just getting started, and I’ve only been married 8!

    My favorite go to book is “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. I try to go through it once a year. There is no better way to love your husband then to spend time in concentrated, specific pray on his behalf! My biggest take away from the book is that I can’t change my husband, only God can. Instead of bringing my frustrations to my husband again, and again, and again (read nagging) I need to bring them before the Lord and allow HIM to do the work in my husbands heart.

    • says

      Nagging sure creeps in there when we’re not looking, doesn’t it! You’re so right, Libby – only God can change a person’s heart – thanks for the gentle reminder!

  27. RR says

    I have been married for 4 years but with my husband for 12 years. We met in our 20′s. We have at least five of the above mentioned issues in our marriage and i am currently torn with a decision for the future. We have been struggling to fall pregnant for years and have now grown apart so much so that we have lost the drive completely. Thanks to your article i have decided to fix this, or give it my best shot because u’re right, a lot of this is me waiting for him to change when its me who needs to. Thanks for your reality check on the “excuses” i’ve been making to take the easy way out …

  28. says

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after looking at some of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be
    bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

  29. says

    This. Is. AWESOME. I basically don’t have anything else to say, except, YOU GO GIRL!! This sort of thing has GOT to be said, and often, and loud. Which is why I’m sharing it on Facebook…NOW. :) Thank you for this!

  30. says

    I love this post. I definitely don’t think all divorces are due to selfishness but I do think a great deal of them are. Thank you for your words. Even being happily married for 16 years there are gems in here I can use and apply to our lives.

  31. Monica says

    I agree with your post. There are so many good comments that I won’t add much. My aunt gave me “Creative Counterpart” by Linda Dillow when my husband & I got married. The book may be out of print, but it is really good! I also like “Created to be His Help Meet” by Debi Pearl. There are others I like too. Right now I am reading “Red Hot Monogomy”.

    As a mom of young children, I have to purpose to keep my husband and our relationship in the front part of my mind. It is too easy to just “do life” and forget whom we love the most. Bless you each as you choose a heavenly marriage!

  32. Kate says

    I’m sad that you think only infidelity is reason for divorce. What about abuse? that is a serious thing and can come in many forms, not just physical, sexual and emotional. It can also include financial, spiritual (using the Bible against the spouse), and a few others. They are all serious and most often used together to manipulate and control the other person. No person should be forced to stay in a marriage that is disrespectful and dangerous. I prayed for my 1st husband to change for years, but he chose not to and I left to stay safe.

    • says

      Hi Kate,

      I’m sorry your 1st husband chose not to change – I can’t imagine that would be an easy situation to be in.

      In my post I stated that infidelity is the only reason for divorce based on Matthew 19:9, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

      However, if a wife or children are being abused to the point that they’re fearful for their own lives, there’s no wrong in separating for a time and leaving for safety’s sake.

We'd love to hear from you! Please leave a courteous comment below (this doesn't mean you have to agree, just be kind in your response). Comments that use foul language, or are rude and obnoxious will be removed.