All marriages experience ups and downs, but when are things serious enough to consider a divorce? Research indicates common themes in the literature predictive of divorce:
Feelings of Contempt: If you or your spouse resorts to contemptuous feelings and behaviors when dealing with problems, the marriage may be at risk. Regardless of the issue at hand, eye rolling, sarcasm, berating, and name-calling lead to a feeling of helplessness. Problems cannot be solved in this environment. Passive-aggressive statements are yet another symptom of contempt. Instead, couples should address complaints without blame or criticisms.
Scorekeeping: When one spouse is more focused on keeping score in a marriage than on building a loving relationship, it can spell disaster. Successful marriages cannot be centered on winning and losing. Spouses should instead consider strong communication, love, and forgiveness a win-win.
Differing Goals: Does one of you want a big family and the other hate the idea of kids? Does one want to party whenever possible, and the other prefer cozy nights at home? Is traveling the globe the ultimate dream for one of you, while the other is completely comfortable planted in the neighborhood in which you have always lived? When couples have huge differences in the things they want from life, if can make for a challenging marriage.
One Person does all the Compromising: Does one person always hold out to get the final say on the tv shows you watch or the restaurants you go to? Does one spouse feel disappointment that the other shows minimal interest in his or her needs on a day-to-day basis? Compromise is a key factor in successful marriages, but when one spouse is constantly expected to give in to the other’s desires, it can lead to feelings of resentment. It makes one wonder about the motivations for staying with someone who is not concerned about who you are or what you need.
Bad Views Rule: Research indicates that couples who remember the sweet, tender beginnings of their relationship, even when going through tough times, are more likely to survive. Alternately, if the focus is on the shortfalls of the other spouse and the mutual admiration and respect has dissipated, the marriage is in trouble.
Debt: One of the biggest stressors to any marriage is money trouble, particularly if one spouse is a big spender and the other is not. In that circumstance, the risk for divorce is 45% more likely. Setting and living within a budget can save unnecessary arguments and harrowing stress.
A Lousy Sex Life: When antagonism, or a simple lack of interest in your spouse, results in a limited or nonexistent sex life, the marriage is in trouble. Healthy communication and the ability to enjoy one another intimately can build a bond that helps couples through challenging times.
You do Not Spend Time Together: Couples who do not share hobbies and interests, as well as other friendships, are at greater risk of divorce. Particularly, when one spouse purposefully becomes detached, the relationship should be evaluated.
Stonewalling: Spouses who evade one another or punish with the cold shoulder are avoiding solving their issues. Instead of open and clear dialogue, problems become swept under the rug, where they fester until they have to be addressed—usually with anger.
Wedding Planning Issues: Beware if planning the wedding became more important than the relationship between the couple. Continue reading →