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What Are the Leading Causes of Divorce in the United States?

Michael Tierney
February 22, 2023

Marriage is one of the most common civil contracts in the world, primarily because it is the end stage of romantic relationships. As a result, most American couples get married at the culmination of their romantic entanglement. Marriage is the starting point for creating a family, making it a transition point for couples worldwide. For some, marriage is the best romance stage because it is a new chapter that dictates how they will spend the rest of their days. For others, marriage generates issues they were not prepared for because of the extra responsibilities married life is known to produce. Ultimately, marriage is either the best or worst decision people make.

Unfortunately, the rate of marriage has done little to curb the rate of divorce across the United States. The most recent statistics point to over half of all American marriages ending in divorce, though the rates are subject to change as more couples get married. Divorce rates can be disheartening if you are experiencing marital troubles, but there are tools for salvaging the relationship.

Couples only divorce when a significant issue drives a wedge between them. When these issues arise, it can lead to conflict in the relationship that drives an irreparable wedge between the couple and eventually results in divorce.

Solution While there are several reasons a relationship can fail, some problems are more likely to cause divorce than others. Identifying these issues is critical to preserving your relationship or identifying a lost cause.

#1: Commitment Issues

Marriage is considered the ultimate commitment in most circles since it requires us to commit to another person for the rest of our lives. Usually, we develop a profound connection with our spouses before marriage is considered so we can decide whether we want to commit to them. Sometimes, circumstances push us into marriage before we are emotionally or psychologically prepared for the compromise.

When circumstances lead to marriages where commitment is questionable, it can be difficult for the couple to enjoy a happy relationship. When we lack the commitment to our spouse, we are less likely to spend time with them or start a family willingly.

Married Couple Suffering From Commitment Issues

Solution Lack of commitment to your spouse causes arguments and an emotional disconnection that makes this the basis of virtually all marital issues.

Lacking commitment to your spouse makes you less invested in resolving arguments, staying faithful, or planning for the future. A lack of commitment is equally devastating when the low commitment is a one-sided issue with the other spouse providing the commitment expected of a spouse. When one spouse dedicates themselves to the relationship while their spouse lacks the same commitment, it can cause feelings of resentment.

Both spouses must cooperate and commit to the union to ensure an equal give and take. If your spouse expects you to bend over backward but makes no effort to go out of their way for you, it could be a sign they are not as committed to the relationship. This brings us to the next major cause of divorce.

#2: Infidelity

Infidelity is a major issue for couples worldwide and presents one of the most heartbreaking and emotionally devastating scenarios in marriage. Unfortunately, infidelity affects many marriages as more couples find their ability to commit to monogamy lacking. Usually, infidelity is fueled by an underlying marital issue or an inherent inability to remain faithful to a single partner.

Solution One of the leading causes of infidelity is low self-esteem because people with low self-esteem are more likely to accept any boost to their confidence.

More often than not, gaining another person's attention outside the marriage improves our self-image because it shows that it is not just our spouses who find us attractive.

Infidelity Affecting a Marriage

Low self-esteem also causes people to believe their spouses have lost interest in them whenever a conflict arises. As a result, low self-esteem is one of the driving factors of infidelity in modern marriage. When someone already doubts their attractiveness in the eyes of their spouse, they are likely to seek validation however they can. Finding it in an extramarital affair is one of the simplest options since it provides an immediate surge of confidence in one's appearance and sex appeal. Unfortunately, other reasons for infidelity are far less sympathetic.

Some people indulge in extramarital affairs because they have a sex drive that exceeds their spouse's, and they will do whatever they can to satisfy it. Regardless of why someone indulges in infidelity, it can destroy a marriage when the affair is revealed. It is rare for an affair to go undiscovered since an unfaithful spouse usually demonstrates subtle signs indicating infidelity. When the spouse being cheated on learns of their spouse's transgression, divorce is the most common result since it can eliminate the trust that originally existed between the couple.

#3: Excessive Conflict

Every couple is going to argue at some point in the relationship. It is an inevitable reality that arguments are used to reach resolutions for otherwise sensitive disagreements. While arguments are a reality of relationships, there is such a thing as too many conflicts.

Solution Having too few or too many arguments are bad signs in a relationship since the former shows that you and your spouse no longer care, and the latter shows that you cannot reach common ground anymore. Either way, excessive conflict is one of the leading causes of divorce since the constant arguments whittle away your patience for each other.

Married Couple Excessively Arguing

Constantly arguing with your spouse can destroy any semblance of peace in your home and make you dread coming home to your spouse. When our marital home is constantly filled with arguments, it turns what should be our space into a battlefield. Understandably, some people grow weary of returning to a home where all they do is argue with someone they love. The constant arguments also make it feel like you cannot approach your spouse about anything without an argument. This can create feelings of isolation since you can no longer confide in your partner.

Eventually, arguments can lead to a boiling point where the marriage collapses because there is no room for compromise or discussion. Unfortunately, the rates of argument amongst married couples will not vanish since there are too many disparate opinions. Fortunately, while excessive arguments are a leading cause of divorce in the country, it is one of the issues that can be repaired with the right resources and effort. However, efforts to seek counseling for constant arguments cannot be unilateral, and you and your spouse must agree for the endeavor to succeed.

#4: Premature Marriage

We mentioned earlier that commitment issues are one of the biggest causes of divorce because it is hard for an uncommitted spouse to maintain the marriage. While this is true, there is an underlying cause for commitment issues in some marriages.

Solution Sometimes, a couple struggles to commit to one another because they marry too early.

Young love can be an impulsive affair since hormones and emotions are rampant, leading us to make rash decisions thinking we are ready for the next step. Some high school couples believe their relationship will withstand the test of time, making it seem natural for them to get married after graduation. These impulsive, young marriages can seem romantic and fulfilling at the moment, but a few years later, it can show just how little we understand our feelings.

Over half of the marriages between high school couples end in divorce for reasons they could not have predicted when they first got together. While this is not necessarily surprising, it can be disheartening for couples hoping their high school love will last. That said, not many high school couples actually get married since college life tends to separate couples and long distance is not widely employed. Therefore, the odds of a high school couple getting married are fairly slim, and most couples break up post-graduation. Unfortunately, sometimes a premature marriage occurs for the wrong reasons.

Young Couple Getting Married

Another common issue in youthful couples is premature pregnancy from unrestrained sexual activity. In layman's, younger couples are prone to higher rates of sexual intercourse, and we are also more impulsive in our youth. As a result, younger couples have a higher risk of accidental pregnancies than those with more experience.

When a young couple gets pregnant, some believe the best course of action is to get married and raise the child despite the incompatibility of long-term ambitions. Unions from premature pregnancies tend to sidetrack the parents' lives, and they start blaming each other for their circumstances.

Getting married too young can make one or both spouses feel as though their partner stole their youth from them. This generates resentment or reluctance to commit to the marriage later in life. This makes it harder for the couple to maintain a loving relationship, and tensions can rise to unsustainable levels. Eventually, youthful marriages explode unless the couple is well-adjusted or seeks counseling to compensate for the lost life experience. These factors are what contribute to the high divorce rate in younger couples.

#5: Financial Issues

One of modern society's biggest points of contention is the financial strain that makes day-to-day life an uphill battle. It is no secret that the American economy is fairly weak these days, and the cost of living has been skyrocketing for years. Housing, power, food, clothing, education, and every other essential resource has become too expensive for the average American to afford. Comfortable living is now considered a luxury rather than an attainable goal, and there seems to be no relief for the disenfranchised. This financial struggle can cause citizens to resent the government that has enabled a flawed economy, but there are other consequences.

Solution When the financial struggle of modern society starts impacting a couple's quality of life, it can cause them to turn against each other. Financial struggles can lead to arguments about career choices and spending habits that bring out the most vicious sides of us.

Couple Struggling Financially

While financial disputes are common in marriage, they can become a constant battle for couples in lower economic brackets. The constant arguments about financial resources and income can be exhausting and damaging to the foundation of the marriage. Over time, the arguments become a finger-pointing blame game where nothing is resolved, and resentment grows.

While it is possible to overcome financial disagreements, money is one of the biggest issues in marriage. When the funds that keep us fed and sheltered dry up, it can be difficult to cooperate with the perceived cause of the destitution willingly. Usually, financial arguments arise because one spouse fails to seek gainful employment or spends more than is appropriate on non-essential merchandise. When this occurs, the spouses must reach a compromise on how to improve their financial situation, but divorce is a common result.

Learn the Law

Divorce is an unfortunate reality of the marriage institution that we must consider when our marriages encounter significant issues. Some conflicts in marriage are more severe than others and can increase the odds of divorce. The issues outlined here are only some of the major causes of divorce in America and can extend to marriages worldwide. Without effort, a marriage can disintegrate because the couples refuse to compromise in the marriage's interest. Work and understanding make it possible to save a marriage suffering from some major issues, though infidelity is hard to overcome. Unfortunately, divorce is more common when these issues affect the relationship.

Divorce Negotiations

Dealing with divorce is an extremely difficult and emotionally taxing situation that can overwhelm one or both spouses. Divorce can also bring out the worst in some people and encourage them to employ underhanded or inappropriate tactics to skew the proceedings in their favor. Even when your spouse is not attempting to subvert the divorce process, some scenarios can blindside you and leave you at a disadvantage throughout the negotiations.

Aside from retaining legal counsel, the only way to prevent being overwhelmed by the divorce process is to learn as much as you can about it. Information can help you prepare for situations that would otherwise leave you struggling. We realize this is a difficult time for you, and we hope this article has been helpful.

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Written By:
Michael Tierney

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