The New #1 Reason for Divorce, and How to Save Your Marriage

“Keep the Sparks Alive” Series

Since 2003, infidelity was reported as the most common reason for divorce in the United Kingdom. Now, a new reason has taken the lead in that country: falling out of love. I wouldn’t be surprised if data was similar in the United States.

According to The Christian Institute, more than 100 family lawyers were polled, revealing 25% of divorces were attributed to extramarital affairs, with 27% saying the couples had “fallen out of love” or “grew apart.”

The great news is that “falling out of love” is a preventable cause of divorce. Ask yourself if you’re doing the following 5 preventive maintenance actions.

  1. Are you spending quality time together each day (even 15-20 minutes) without TV, cell phones, computers or kids racing around?
  2. Are you sharing your needs, desires and goals?
  3. Are you actively helping your spouse meet his/her needs, desires and goals?
  4. Are you enjoying regular intimacy?
  5. Are you giving your love and attention and trying to be the best spouse you can be? Don’t wait for your spouse to start the cycle of loving actions; go first.

Couples tend to drift apart unless they take action to keep that drift from occurring. Make your marriage a priority—above job, children’s activities, housework, volunteer projects, etc.

Often, when couples feel as if they have fallen out of love, it just means they are not feeling that intense passion they did when they first got together. This is a natural hormonal process. But marriages are often revived, and loving feelings often follow loving actions. Avoid putting your relationship on life support. Keep the romance burning with time, attention and concern for one another.

Which of the 5 preventive maintenance steps does your marriage need more of?

LINKS:
Interesting debate on this CBS news clip on whether spouses should be legally required to provide sex to their partners as happened to one man in France who was sued by his wife.

Photo by photostock courtesy of freestockphotos.com.

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15 responses to “The New #1 Reason for Divorce, and How to Save Your Marriage

  1. Pingback: Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard

  2. I’ve always had a problem with the “affairs cause the majority of divorces” because affairs are usually a symptom of the real cause of the divorce. While there may be rare exceptions, people in solid. loving marriages don’t have affairs. People who have affairs has on some level decided their marriage is over, or at least has gotten to the place where it’s not a big deal if they kill it.

    “Falling out of love” on the other hand is huge.

    • So it’s their decision to put their effort into an affair instead of connecting with their spouse. Whether you call it the affair, or their decision to have the affair instead of connecting with their spouse, the result is the same. You end up with a broken marriage.

  3. Falling out of love in marriages has, in most cases, been the reason for one of the spouses. Even if you have tried to do all five, and more, there are times when the other spouse just doesn’t relate anymore. He/she’s either tired or fed-up, or has fond someone totally new whose traits probably bring him/her back to the youthful, carefree years.

    Marriage is a lifelong contract, a devotion, a new beginning, a chance to be reborn, a motherhood/fatherhood life, and a once-in-a-lifetime moment. To divorce and do it all over again only means starting from scratch at an age or point in life where you should already be on your way up, giving up on your spouse, your kids and, most importantly, yourself, and just totally being ignorant of others and just choosing yourself all the time (again).

    Divorce because of other things like being a battered spouse is something one should probably do. Divorce simply because you’ve fallen out of love is always something to reconsider a thousand times, or more, before jumping the gun.

  4. “5.Are you giving your love and attention and trying to be the best spouse you can be? Don’t wait for your spouse to start the cycle of loving actions; go first.”
    This is so true and yet many times we are advised that when one spouse “falls out of love”, the other spouse should give them space, be distant when they are distant, not pursue. It’s a balancing act; stay available emotionally and physically, and perform loving actions but give them space and take care of yourself.
    Who knew it would be so difficult…?

  5. Well I agree with most of what is written here I would disagree with the number one reason for couples to divorce. In my experience it is the lack of conflict resolution skills that kills marriages. Sadly this is not taught by traditional marriage counselors and that is one of many reasons that tradtional marriage counselors have such an abysmal failure rate.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John

  6. Lori,
    I could use more of your number one Maintenance Action. It just takes a little effort and focus. We love our time together, but it is easy to lose it in all the craziness of work and kids and life……

  7. Great article. I agree with Marriagecoach1, however, that resolving conflicts (issues) is a common area of struggle for divorced couples. “Falling out of love” is the convenient euphemism to explain a mate’s perceived lack of incentive to try and save their marriage.

    Again, great article and the kind of substantive discussion that must be had to help us all support and to build healthy marriages.

  8. So they surveyed lawyers? Was the survey asking for the reasons their clients gave in the decree of divorce or verbal reasons that would be considered more anecdotal? I’m thinking the latter since “irreconcilable differences” is the common legal catch-all.”
    I wonder what the results would be if they surveyed 2000 lawyers, each who represented the opposing spouses. What would be the differences given between the two former spouses?
    Though it is an interesting trend, I give it litte credibility. I’m more interested as to which spouse was claiming infidelity—I imagine the betrayer was more likely to give other reasons such as falling out of love and the betrayed wouold site infidelity.

    @GenerousHusband: “I’ve always had a problem with the “affairs cause the majority of divorces” because affairs are usually a symptom of the real cause of the divorce. While there may be rare exceptions, people in solid, loving marriages don’t have affairs. People who have affairs has on some level decided their marriage is over, or at least has gotten to the place where it’s not a big deal if they kill it.
    “Falling out of love” on the other hand is huge.”
    I take an opposite view. Infidelity can be a symptom of problems within a marriage, but often it has ntohing to do with the marriage and eveyrthing to do with the betraying spouse. Infidelity happens in marriages that were good, where one partner had severe issues that may have been previously buried. I’m not syaing it is not a symtpom of issues within the marriage, but that is not always the case. Thoe who claim infidelity is simply symptomatic of problems within the marriage are putting inappropriate blame—though often unintentionally—on the betrayed spouse. I’m also not saying the betrayed partner was a perfect spouse, just that he or she holds no responibility for the infidelity.

    And as for falling out of love, it’s an excuse. As thepurebed said, “it is the convenient euphemism to explain a mate’s perceived lack of incentive to try and save their marriage.” Yep, an equivalent to irreconcilable differences.

    @marriagecoach1: “In my experience it is the lack of conflict resolution skills that kills marriages.”
    That is an excelletn point, but it is a deeper reason and not something that couples or likely even their lawyers would site or even acknowledge. It seems a more diagnostic reason.

    • I agree, citing “falling out of love” for a reason to have an affair and/or choose divorce is just a way to sugarcoat the notion someone is deciding to betray their vows.

      Infidelity is the sign of bad character or bad boundaries. Both of which can be corrected, should the wayward spouse decide they want to.

      There is little the betrayed spouse can do as long as the wayward spouse feels justified in her behavior to betray her mate.

  9. I agree with many of you that “we grew apart” and “we fell out of love” are euphemisms for other problems. They may be the response when people don’t want to give the real reason for the divorce or when they don’t understand the true cause. Or, when conflict drives them apart. I don’t think it’s a sufficient reason for divorce.

  10. I agree that unresolved conflict is not a sufficient reason for divorce. What happens is that couples continue to fight and not make progress.
    Sadly they usually try marriage counseling and invariably it is an utter failure. I can speak from personal experience with over a dozen marriage counselors all of them absolutely worthless.

    This is why there is a growing movement in the counseling industry to adopt the coaching paradigm. It has much better success rates. Mine is averaging 80% success.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John

  11. Can somebody please help me. I’v been doing all the things 1 thu 5 for 32 yrs. but my biggest problem is that i’m not getting back #4 and it’s driving me CRAZY. I don’t want to go out and cheat & start all over again but it’s been on my mind for a very long time. Can someone please HELP me in any kind of way.

    • This is from my resources section: Be selective about the type of marriage counselor with whom you decide to trust your marriage. Read What’s a pro-marriage counselor, and how can I find one?

      Visit http://www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com for a directory established and run by Dr. William Doherty that helps couples find supportive, pro-marriage therapists in your area. Read the resources page for other suggestions as well. Best wishes to you.

  12. Hey Mr J
    Perhaps I can be of assistance. I offer a free half hour phone consultation.
    If you would like to send me your phone number and good time to call
    at my email address marriagecoach1@yahoo.com I would be happy to chat with you.
    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

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