Despite the vow of sticking together “in sickness and in health,” roughly half of the marriages in America end in divorce. There are many factors that play into these statistics, but a new study from Iowa State University reveals an interesting disparity in the way divorces come about. The study suggests that divorce rates increase when wives get diagnosed with a serious illness, but they remain the same when husbands fall ill. It appears that marriages are less likely to last if the female half is not in good health.
How Serious Illnesses Impact Divorce Rates
Researchers found that marriages, where the wife was diagnosed with a serious illness, were 6% more likely to end in divorce than marriages with healthy wives. The risk of divorce did not change with regard to the husband’s health. While the results of the data do not indicate a specific reason for this imbalance, the researchers have come up with few possibilities:
- Women feel unsatisfied with the care they receive from their husbands because men are not conditioned to be caregivers, especially in older generations.
- Men in traditional marriage arrangements are not prepared to take on the role of provider and caregiver for their households.
- Women begin to re-evaluate their lives after an illness and find they are no longer happy in their relationships, or they never were to begin with.
The stress of a major medical diagnosis is enough to push many couples into divorce, but marriage counseling can help prevent that from happening. There are plenty of couples that last throughout a serious illness, as long as they work together to establish a new “normal” for their lives. Marriages with sick wives may simply have a stronger need for couples therapy than others.
Other Interesting Findings
- Out of 2,700 marriages assessed in the study, 32% ended in divorce and 24% ended in widowhood.
- The number of couples getting divorced later in life has increased. Some marriages that may have once ended in widowhood now end in divorce, possibly because people are living longer.
- Illness puts women at risk of losing the physical and mental health benefits that typically come with marriage.
- There was no statistically significant difference in divorce rates for women with cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.
How To Prevent Divorce After Illness
We have been saving marriages since 1997, and we would be happy to help you and your spouse get back on track. You can arrange a meeting with a professional marriage counselor to discuss your struggles and find solutions for your marriage. Reclaim the marriage you once had and enjoy a better quality of life with your spouse. No matter what your situation may be, we are here to help.