While no couple that gets married plans to divorce, many will wind up doing just that. Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that "marital disruption" occurs in 22 percent of couples during their initial half-decade of marriage. If they manage to hang in there for two decades, 53 percent of couples will experience a disruption.
With the odds being what they are, it's important to understand what types of problems cause marriages to unravel. Below are some of the most common reasons for divorce.
Adultery by one or both spouses is a primary reason for divorce. The affairs don't even have to be physically consummated, as emotional affairs with another person can be just as damaging to a marriage.
If the marriage is otherwise strong, a single instance of cheating may be survivable. However, for many spouses, infidelity remains the one deal-breaker they can never get past.
Money — in particular, the lack thereof — can seriously strain a marriage. Poverty is very stressful, which often leads to fights. Couples who differ in their views on saving and spending money, often as a result of the way they were raised, often face problems. Unless they learn to compromise, their marriages can founder.
Money can also become a problem when wives earn more than their spouses if the husbands feel threatened or emasculated by their wives' earning power.
Alcohol and drug abuse wreak havoc on American families. In other cases, a spouse may develop a gambling problem that threatens the family's stability. Many marriages crumble under the weight of one spouse's vices. Detox, rehab and ongoing participation in 12-step programs may save some, but not all, marriages.
Many marriages are unable to withstand the devastation of a child's death or a spouse's terminal diagnosis. These extraordinary stressors can bring a marriage to the brink of divorce even when the partners truly love one another.
What appear to be a partner's mild quirks during the courtship phase of a relationship can turn into major annoyances that leave the other spouse gritting teeth and muttering curses. Then, too, major cultural and religious differences that couples initially believe they can overcome prove to be just too divisive, and divorce can result.
No one can make the decision for you as to whether you should remain married to your spouse or file for divorce. Regardless, it's wise to proceed only once you are fully informed of the consequences of the actions you plan to take.