Common Causes Of Divorce (And How To Avoid Them)

by | Oct 6, 2020 | All, Couples Counseling, Marriage Counseling

Common Causes Of Divorce (And How To Avoid Them)

Why do married couples get divorced? What are the most common reasons for divorce, and what can do you do to avoid them? There were 29,708 divorces in Michigan in 2014, at a rate of 6 people per 1,000 residents in the state. That’s lower than the national average of 7.6 people per 1,000, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. In the discussion below, we will review the most common causes of divorce and what you can do to keep your relationship strong well into the future.

Basic Incompatibility

According to a recent survey from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, “basic incompatibility” accounted for 43% of divorces in America. This broad topic covers a wide range of issues in a marriage, but overall, it represents couples who simply could not get along well enough to stay together. The incompatibility could be the result of getting married young, getting married because of a pregnancy, getting married for health insurance needs, getting married too quickly, etc. Whatever the circumstances were, the couples were unable to cooperate with one another to stay married.

How To Avoid It

The most obvious way to avoid getting divorced from basic incompatibility is to not get married until you know you both are fully committed to staying with one another. If you cannot picture yourself with the other person decades from now, you know in your heart that this is not the right setup for you. Save both of yourselves the pain of divorce by waiting on marriage until you’re both truly ready.

If you are already married and feel yourselves drifting apart, you may seek out marriage counseling to help you work out your problems. This will give you an open, unbiased platform to speak out and let your voice be heard. You’ll learn how to communicate better with your spouse to avoid misunderstandings that could come across as incompatibilities. Try finding some common interests that you can bond through, or try something entirely new together. This may help you bridge some of the gaps building in your relationship.


Infidelity accounts for 28% of divorces in America, according to the IDFA. In another national survey, 55% of participants cited infidelity as one of the reasons for their divorce. There are a number of reasons why people cheat on their spouses, from emotional disconnection to fulfillment of sexual needs. Whatever the case may be though, this act is oftentimes considered an unforgivable break in trust that spouses are not willing to recover from.

How To Avoid It

Once again, the obvious way to avoid a divorce through infidelity is to remain faithful to your spouse. That may be easier said than done though. Even people with strong morals and a powerful sense of commitment may find themselves tempted to stray when problems arise in their marriages. If you find yourself seeking the attention of others, look within your current relationship to determine what void you are trying to fill. Are you no longer attracted to your spouse? Do you no longer feel attracted to your spouse? Are you looking for something new in your life? Are you trying to escape from personal stresses bound within your marriage? Go through these questions personally until you decide why you feel the need to cheat. Then you can address the issue at hand and avoid a painful situation later on.

If you or your spouse have already cheated, there is still hope for your marriage. With proper marriage counseling, you can begin to trust one another once again, and you can figure out why one of you sought to cheat in the first place. As long as both spouses are open to getting help, you can complete divorce prevention counseling successfully and enjoy the fulfilling marriage you’ve always wanted to have.

Financial Stress

The IDFA cites “money issues” as the third most common cause of divorce, accounting for 22% of divorces in America. Financial stress plays a major role in how people interact with one another. Simply put, someone with more stress is more likely to be irritable, angry, depressed, and emotionally needy than someone who is financially stable. Many divorces occur shortly after a major financial crisis in a family, like a failed investment or an unexpected death in the family. Couples with low incomes are at a higher risk of divorce than couples with higher incomes, and divorce rates tend to increase when the job market falls flat.

How To Avoid It

Financial stress is not always easy to avoid because you may have no control over the circumstances. For instance, if the company you work for lays off a large portion of workers due to budget cuts, you may be left jobless without warning. Try to prepare for financial emergencies before they happen. Pay your bills in advance, and put away money in savings to protect you if you are ever between jobs. If you do lose your job, work diligently to find another one as soon as possible. You may need to work part-time at a job you are not thrilled with to make ends meet until you get hired somewhere else.

Avoid living above your personal means. Do not take out unnecessary loans or credit cards because the debt alone can create enough stress to hurt a marriage. In most cases, it helps to have more than one source of income for the household so the weight of the bills is distributed amongst two parties. If you only have one source of income, make sure it is stable, reliable, and sufficient enough to cover your costs. You and your spouse may need to seek the help of an accountant or financial planner to ensure your money does not divide your household.

Relationship Imbalance

Recently, we discussed the signs of one-sided relationships and how to fix imbalances in a relationship. It takes two people to make a marriage last. If you or your spouse feel like you are pulling more weight in the marriage than the other person, you may drift apart over time. In a survey of divorced couples from MSN, 63% of couples said a lack of commitment from their spouse was one of the biggest reasons for their divorce. 21% of women and 35% of men said they wished they had worked harder to stay married. In that same survey, 44% of couples said that a lack of equality in the marriage was yet another cause of divorce. Without the proper balance of responsibilities, emotions, and commitment on both ends, your marriage could be at risk of divorce.

How To Avoid It

Talk openly with your spouse about the share of responsibilities in your relationship. If the imbalance occurs on the emotional level, work together to fulfill each other’s needs. You may use the guidance of a family and marriage counselor to identify one-sided features in your marriage and find ways to correct them. Keep in mind that the balance you create may not be apples-to-apples. For example, one person may provide the household income while the other takes care of cleaning, paying bills, watching the children, etc. Come up with a compromise that works for both of you, and you can avoid some of the most common causes of divorce.

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