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Friday, June 20, 2008

Why Marriages Fail

For an update to this post, please click HERE.

This last month, my husband and I were informed that my husband's parents are getting a divorce. This announcement came after nearly 32 years of marriage for my in-laws. The decision to divorce has come as a surprise and heartbreak for my husband who has looked at his parents as a model for a good Christian marriage. Obviously every marriage has its problems and every couple has arguments, but we naturally keep these faults from others and from our children.

So why do so many couples in the United States get divorced? Recent stastitics have it that over 50% of all US marriages fail with that percentage rising with every subsequent marriage per couple. The reasons for my in-laws' divorce is likely drawn from many factors that have taken years to manifest themselves. However, if we are proactive with identifying the most common causes of divorce (as compiled from seasoned divorce lawyers), then couples can identify the points of trouble in their own marriage and find ways to resolve such conflicts.

Divorce is an extremely hard decision to make. Some make the decision to divorce prematurely; some only make it after all the children have left the home. Divorce is hard for not only the couples involved in such a serious and life changing event, but it is also hard for the children and families of the couple divorcing. Divorce should not be a light decision to make.

The following article lists the most common reasons for divorce in the United States and was compiled after numerous interviews with divorce lawyers across the US:

From "Making Marriage Last", published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at

"Why Marriages Fail:

Not all marriages fail for the same reason. Nor is there usually one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage. Nevertheless, we hear some reasons more often than others.They are:

Poor communication
Financial problems
A lack of commitment to the marriage
A dramatic change in priorities

There are other causes we see a lot, but not quite as often as those listed above .They are:

Failed expectations or unmet needs
Addictions and substance abuse
Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
Lack of conflict resolution skills"

I write this blog to start some meaningful conversation on the subject. What are your thoughts for the causes of divorce and is there a way to prevent it?


Amy said...

Personnally I think that half the problem in the rising number of divorces happens way before it begins, people just aren't picky enough. Chances are someone is going to go through a whole box of cracker jacks before they get to the prize at the bottom, you don't don't have to marry every cracker. I made the mistake of marrying too young and for all the wrong reasons. I was 19, thought I was in love, was pregnant and nieve. Now 8 years later it's taken me so far 2 years and still trying to get a divorce. There was not any one problem.
*We were wrong from the start.
*No communication.
*Different desires and goals.
*Too young / he didn't want to settle down (to just one woman).
*Drugs and Alcohol abuse.
*Abuse (Physical, emotional, spiritual, mental).
*Financial disagreements (he didn't make any $, just spent it).
*Anger issues.
This list could go on forever. The problem with divorce is not that people don't try hard enough or that they just grow apart. The problem I see if that the screening process should be longer and more extensive. And well just maybe there's one man that was right for just those 6 years and now he's not. Maybe just maybe I learned something from that experience that I could not have recieved elsewhere. So is divorce bad, no. But next time I deside to fall in love I'm going to go through my check list and pick the problems that I can live with for the rest of my life. We all know that no body is perfect. It's just a matter of what you can handle. If you meet someone and they're not as affectionate as you need. That's not going to change. If you meet someone that doesn't communicate very well and you need him to tell you how he feels and open up, he's not going to change. You need to pick if you want a slob or a neat freak. You need to pick if you want to deal with lack of attention or lack of communication. I guess what I'm saying is, think about it before you get married. And if you already are - don't give up. The trick is to grow together, do things together, pray and read your scriptures together. Endure to the End!

Nina said...

In short, my opinion is that SELFISHNESS and SIN are THE main reasons for divorce. As a result, marriage is no longer valued by society as it was in days gone by. If it gets inconvenient or requires effort are you willing to work for it ?

Below are what I believe to very salient quotes by some very wise men with whom I completely agree with regard to their statements and opinions on divorce (taken from :

"Selfishness, sin, and personal convenience often prevail over covenants and commitment." - F. Burton Howard, "Eternal Marriage", Liahona, May 2003

"Nurture and cultivate your
marriage. Guard it and work to
keep it solid and beautiful."
—President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Too many who come to marriage have been coddled and spoiled and somehow led to feel that everything must be precisely right at all times, that life is a series of entertainments, that appetites are to be satisfied without regard to principle. How tragic the consequences of such hollow and unreasonable thinking! . . .

“There may be now and again a legitimate cause for divorce. I am not one to say that it is never justified.
But I say without hesitation that this plague among us, which seems to be growing everywhere, is not of God, but rather is the work of the adversary of righteousness and peace and truth” (Gordon B Hinckley in Conference
Report, Apr. 1991, 96–98; or Ensign, May 1991, 73–74).

"In my opinion, ‘just cause’ should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is
destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being.
“At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply ‘mental distress’ or ‘personality differences’ or having ‘grown apart’or having ‘fallen out of love.’ This is especially so
where there are children” (James E Faust in Conference Report,
Apr. 1993, 46; or Ensign, May 1993, 36–37).

"For more than twenty-five years we have witnessed an unending assault on the traditional family. Sacred values of human goodness, discipline, and love and honor for God our Eternal Father have been challenged. A new self-centered generation has made the family
a prime target of continuing belittlement. Marriage is downgraded or shunned, parenthood degraded and avoided. These, with other disturbing influences,
have resulted in a torrent of evil temptations for so-called instant gratification and the demeaning of
marriage and the sacred roles of wife and mother.

A major underlying cause of divorce
is in not understanding that marriage and families are God-given and God-ordained. ... The current philosophy—get a divorce if it doesn’t work out—handicaps a marriage from the beginning." (Elder David B. Haight
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles In Conference Report,
Apr. 1984, 14–17;or Ensign, May 1984,12–14)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, divorce like any other action by oneself affects everyone in the family unit. All issues should be weighed and considered before embarking down this path. Hurtful as it may seem to some; it can also be a blessing to others in the relationship. Thomas Merton penned a poem titled, "No Man Is an Island" discussing how we all have affect upon each other. We can be loved unless we show love and we do not exist simply to exist.

It is very saddening to know after so many years of dealing with the daily routine "stuff" something like this occurs within a family structure with a strong belief system. Yes, sometimes there are very valid reasons why two people can not continue to live as man and wife and when there is enough of the "valid" reasons tabulated then the two must part or destroy not only themselves but those around them.

My heart goes out to my Shenny-Pooh Bear because he has such a sweet, compassionate spirit and I know this hurts him deeply. My heart goes out to my daughter who stands beside her husband in love. My heart goes out to my pure, sweet innocent grandbabies who will probably never know their Dad's mom. In that respect, I will be the best grandmommy Austin, Trent and Ryan will ever know. They will be my grandbabies for time and all eternity......

hsearle said...

Hey Allie,
That is sad to hear that your in-laws are separating. My parents got a divorce while I was over in Iraq. My dad just got remarried a couple of weeks ago. It is tough on the family just trying to coordinate what you are going to talk about with your mom and what you are going to talk about with your dad and who you are going to visit on vacations and for how long etc. It has been difficult, but I think my dad is happy so I am glad for him.
We live in such a crazy world. If you are not really careful their is so much to take away from your marriage and so many different ideas out there that a marriage can have a tough time. I sure to look forward to brighter days ahead as the scriptures talk about. Until then, I guess we just hold on and enjoy the ride as much as possible while trying to influence as many people as we can for good, especially within our own families.
Forrest Searle

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