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Five Common Reasons Couples Choose Divorce
For better or worse, divorce is a relatively common legal proceeding. There’s that well known statistic that something like half of all marriages end in divorce (of course, the statistic doesn’t mention how long those marriages last). The point is that there’s a high likelihood you might require the assistance of a divorce attorney at some point in your life.
And make no mistake—divorce is above all a legal process. All agreements and decrees need to be agreed to by the courts (and that’s where having a divorce lawyer can come in handy). Of course, the commonality of divorce begs the question: why does divorce happen? If you know divorce is a strong possibility when you get married, can’t you take steps to prevent it?
In fact, let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons couples might end up divorcing.
Reason #1: Lack of Communication
The best skill anyone in a marriage or partnership can work on is communication. Generally speaking, lack of communication or an inability to communicate is the number one reason couples get divorced. The reason is pretty clear: if you can’t communicate about your problems, you can’t solve your problems.
There are plenty of ways to work on your communication, of course, chief among them enlisting the aid of a marriage counselor. It may sound a little silly, but using “I feel” statements can also more accurately convey your current emotions or feelings about a topic.
Of course, none of that works if both parties aren’t willing to do the really tough thing and listen.
Reason #2: Finances
This is easily the second most frequent reason why couples get divorced. Finances can add strain to any relationship, and that’s especially true in a marriage. Legally, almost all the finances of a married couple are quite intertwined, no matter who has the password to the bank account.
Because both parties have a stake in those finances, there’s a lot of negotiation and (here’s that word again) communication that has to happen. It also helps when both parties have their own individual savings and checking accounts. However, it’s worth noting that debt, impulsive purchasing, and deceptive purchasing all put strains on relationships—and that strain can eventually lead to divorce.
Reason #3: Changing Expectations
What do you expect from your partner? And what does your partner expect from you? When we talk about changing expectations, sometimes we mean what we expect from our partners: from chores to jobs to duties around the house. But sometimes we also mean our expectations about marriage in general.
Often, we think of marriage as the “happily ever after.” Once you get married, everything is squared away, that’s the end of the story (and of the work on the relationship). But for most couples, marriage is only the beginning. Couple who assume that their lives and relationships won’t change after the wedding day tend to last a little bit longer.
Reason #4: Forgetting to Focus on You
A marriage is a partnership, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be your own person. One of the common complaints among divorcing couples is that they never felt like they could be their own person while in the marriage. Either they had different interests or incompatible ideas about how to spend time. This can lead to one person feeling as though he or she is being consumed by the marriage.
Individual identity is important, and it’s vital to the health of any marriage that this individual identity be nurtured—not forgotten about. Most successful marriages tend to be a partnership of equals.
Reason #5: Infidelity
To say that infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce is a little bit of a misnomer. In most cases, infidelity is the symptom, not the cause. Any of the four reasons listed above can lead to infidelity; cheating on a spouse tends to be the breaking point, but not the root cause.
That said, there are plenty of emotional and intimate issues that drive infidelity. Addressing these issues before cheating becomes a temptation can be a great way to keep your marriage secure. After all, recent studies have shown that those who are content with their partner are less likely to find other people temptingly attractive.
A Pound of Prevention, as the Saying Goes
As with any relationship, communication is key. The more of these possible “divorce” issues you can discuss ahead of time, the better prepared you will be for anything that might come your way. Having helped many of our clients through a divorce situation, we have seen our fair share of split couples; and while that might give us a unique perspective on the types of break-ups that occur, it should be noted that every couple is unique.
After all, it never hurts to take stock of your marriage situation—or what your options might be.