In America, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds*. That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years. People wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry. (if they remarry at all)
A divorce cannot be applied for until a couple has been married for at least one year. Divorce proceedings are started by filing a divorce petition at court.
There is only one legal ground for divorce, which is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The person who starts proceedings, (called the Petitioner) must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down by establishing one of the following five facts:
- Unreasonable behavior
- 2 years separation with consent
- 5 years separation (no consent required)
Some paths to divorce are very understandable. When there are long-term patterns of deceit, addiction, abuse or infidelity, it’s easy to see why the marriage ended. In other cases, however, the reasons seem just plain “dumb” to me. I’m not saying this to beat up on anybody or to poke fun at the seriousness of divorce, but I’m trying to help us all see that there are often much better options than divorce.
Here are some of the dumbest reasons I’ve heard for why couples get divorced (in no particular order):
1. “We’ve grown apart.” (Or “We’ve fallen out of love.”)
On the surface, this sounds reasonable, but when you get to the root of it, it’s dumb. It’s a misrepresentation of love. Love isn’t just a feeling; it’s a commitment. When we base our choices on our feelings instead of our commitments, we’re destined to never have a solid relationship. Base your marriage on your commitments and your feelings will usually catch up. Invest time into each other. That’s the only way to make a marriage work.
2. “We disagree about money.”
I’ve seen several recent studies that say money-related issues are now the number one reason for divorce. The reason why it’s “dumb” to divorce because of money is that the process of divorce causes more financial devastation than almost anything else (that’s why divorce attorneys are rich and divorced people are broke). It’s important to get on the same page with money, but don’t divorce over it!
3. The intimacy disappears.
Somewhere in a marriage there is a subtle change in the intimacy department. One person has an off day, there is a misunderstanding or someone doesn’t feel well. Then there’s the idea that he isn’t as romantic or she isn’t as sexual. Whoever is the one with the subtle change can trigger a downward spiral in the intimacy department. Men generally need sexual receptivity to feel romantic and women generally need romance to be sexual receptive. As long as both people are getting what they need, they willingly provide what the other person wants. However, when there is a lessening on either’s part, that can trigger a pulling back in the other. If gone unnoticed and unchecked, before the couple realizes, they are seriously intimately estranged and wonder what happened. This can lead to divorce as couples begin to feel unloved and unappreciated.
4. Not having a shared vision of success.
“Everything changed when we got married!” He drives you crazy because you’re a saver and he’s a spender. Your idea of a weekend getaway is a cozy cottage in the woods; your partner wants to the hit the town and catch a game. He thinks it’s your job to cook and clean, but you disagree.
Why didn’t he mention these things before? Maybe you should have asked. Chances are that he or she hasn’t changed — your expectations did. Is it possible to survive major differences in philosophy? It is possible, but many do not.
5. Inability to resolve conflicts.
Every couple has disagreements. The key is to develop ground rules so that each partner feels respected and heard. Sometimes it takes a third party “referee” to help define those rules and teach us to move through the charged emotions so resentments don’t linger.
6. Weight Gain
Surprisingly enough, “forever after” often comes with the caveat “as long as you maintain your figure.” According to a survey reported by Men’s Health, one spouse gaining substantial amounts of weight can be a damper on marital bliss. Once your spouse is no longer turned on or attracted to your body, issues dealing with rejection and resentment can quickly become marriage-threatening issues.
According to a study published by the Wharton school at Pennsylvania University, cites the age at which a couple gets married playing a role in the likelihood of their divorce. Couples that get married at a young age often deal with money issues, lack of maturity, lack of communication, and issues that develop from growing apart. Age apparently adds on maturity that can help a marriage work; evidenced by the same study finding that couples who marry later in life, often have the lowest divorce rates.
8. He wanted out for the “kids’ sake”.
“I married her when I was young and my mother had just died. I felt I needed someone. It was a marriage of convenience for the next ten years. It was when we had kids and were forced to interact with each other that I could not stand it anymore. I asked out of the marriage when the kids (twins) were 3 years-old because I felt if they were any older it would affect them too much and I would not be able to leave. I am very happy I did it. Although the financial strain of child support and alimony has been difficult, I feel it was the best thing for the children and me. I remember actually thinking that I have one life to live and there is no ‘do over’ unless I did it when I did.”
No one gets married with the intention of getting divorced. When you see problems on the horizon, don’t wait until they are beyond fixing to address them. Take responsibility for your actions. Talk to each other and ask yourself where did everything went wrong? How can I go about to fix this before I spend so much money and get divorce! Don’t run away from your problem, because you will respect them again with someone else. Don’t live in denial and blame the other for your mistakes and get lazy with your thoughts. Everyone need’s love! Don’t go through your life thinking that there is something better out there. If you can’t fix this what makes you think you are going to have successful marriage next time? Give it 120% before you call it quit. Don’t get manipulated by the society that “marriage is hard”, “I am better off by myself”, “I don’t need anyone”. Seek marriage counseling, go on a vacation with just the two of you, or try to get an addicted spouse into rehabilitation program. Before you give up, give the marriage your all, that way you can have the peace of knowing you tried all of the alternatives before getting a divorce.