Reasons for Divorce Among Young Couples

Sadly nowadays we can’t help but hear about the extremely high divorce rate among young newlywed couples. Why young people? Why is the divorce rate higher among younger couples? The simple explanation is that when couples enter a relationship they are unaware of the stresses and/or commitment of marriage and their image of what marriage is, comes crumbling down upon them.  But there is usually an underlying reason for each specific divorce.  

People nowadays are accustomed to a certain way of life, and when entering a marriage they have expectations of what the marriage will be like, and those expectations are unrealistic. Even if the expectations are met there is usually a great lack of appreciation for the spouse. Would you jump into the eight foot deep section of an Olympic pool without knowing how to swim? Couples need to prepare themselves for marriage in a realistic way before jumping in without a paddle.

The main cause of divorce, some would say is financial problems. It can be a fight between the couple because the husband bought an eight hundred dollar watch without telling his wife, it can be because the wife lost her job and now the couple cannot continue with their standard of living. Everyone cares about money and therefore it causes problems, as Benjamin Franklin once said “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one”. Recently a pool was taken and it revealed that 32.9 percent of men and 28.7 percent of women admit that they have fought about money and it was the main reason for their divorce (1).

Another highly contributing cause to divorce rate is abuse. There are three types of abuse: substance, emotional, and physical. Substance abuse can start from just a drink to calm you down after a hard day of work and turn into a daily habit in order to just keep on going. Relationships deteriorate when one or both of the members of the relationship are abusers of drugs or alcohol, communication between the two becomes strained, and there is an increase of violent arguments. Substance abuse can also lead to financial problems, whether because of the need to upkeep the addiction or the loss of a job due to the addiction. 30 percent of women said that their husbands’ substance abuse contributed to their divorce (2).

Physical abuse maybe not one of the biggest causes of divorce but it is one of the worst. In polls 21.7 percent of divorced women say they have been physically abused by their spouse (3). Physical abuse can be an effect of alcohol abuse but is also is commonly caused by the abusers feeling of inadequacy and the need to exert a feeling of power on his/her spouse to fill that void. Other causes can be because of anger management issues and various psychological problems.

24.7 percent of men and 55.5 percent of women complained of emotional abuse when getting a divorce (4). “Emotional abuse can be broken down into three categories, verbal aggression, dominant behavior, and jealous behavior. Most emotional abuse is motivated by urges for power and control similar to those of physical abuse. Emotional abuse can include rejecting, degrading, corrupting, isolating, and denying emotional response. More subtle forms of emotional abuse are insults, putdowns, and denial of previous abuse. Abusers are known to be manipulative sometimes recruiting friends and even spouse’s family members to his/her side (5)”. Dr. Phil once told controlling husband “Remember, you married her, you didn’t hire her!”

A common thread I find among the divorces of younger couples is the issue of intimacy. The kids of this generation are not educated enough to get along without marriage classes, and the teachers of the boys classes are on a completely different wavelength than that of the girls teachers. This causes many intimacy issues among the newlyweds and they don’t know how to deal with the problems and that can be a serious concern in a marriage .

A cause that is more unique to younger couples is communication problems. Young couples seemingly in love rush into a marriage without knowing the stresses of living together with a partner for hopefully the rest of their lives. After the time period of complete happiness which usually lasts from 1-3 years, fights break out constantly. Communication problems can be result in a fight or be the result of a fight. For an example one spouse needs something and thinks that her/his significant other will understand what she/he needs without specifying the other partner has no idea what he/she is supposed to do and a result there is a fight.. The other way is that an argument occurs over whether the couple should buy a washing machine or continue to send their laundry to the cleaners, a couple with communication problems will get into an unnecessary animated argument over this which can lead to violence or emotional abuse and can end in a divorce. Recent trends show that 69.7 percent of women, and 59.3 percent of men attribute their divorce to communication problems (6).

When going into a marriage most couples have goals, aspirations, and certain things about them that can contribute to the relationship. Dramatic changes in any such things can cause a serious disruption in the marriage. When a girl marries a guy because he is planning on going to medical school and he has big plans to become a plastic surgeon. One year into the marriage he decides that plastic surgery is not his forte and he changes his studies to pediatric medicine. That can be a deal breaker in a marriage and can end a relationship.

The meaning of commitment is a pledge to bind oneself to a partner. In order to make this pledge one must be emotionally and intellectually able to fulfill the commitment. Many young people are at the stage of their lives where they are unable to fulfill their commitment, and that is a big problem.  17 percent of all marriages that ended were because their spouse could not commit to one partner (7).

According to Esther Mann LCSW there are many things that contribute to the demise of a marriage. Common reasons are immaturity, unrealistic expectations of marriage, inability to communicate properly, and when issues come up post-marriage that were covered up pre-marriage. Many people have personal unresolved personal problems before entering a marriage and think and think the marriage will fix their problems, but all they accomplish is to bring more problems into the marriage. All couples have problems but what you need is more going right for you than going wrong so when there is an overabundance of problems that the couple is unwilling to resolve that is when there is divorce. There is also the religious problem the couple needs to make sure they are on the same page religious-wise before getting married because that can cause problems later on. Her advice is that before getting married; make sure you are getting married for the right reasons. Get to know one another thoroughly and that your communication skills are working properly. Be completely honest with your partner, and a couple of couple therapy sessions will do a lot of good.

This may be a shock but the seemingly little things can have a big effect on a marriage, for example snoring and other sorts of habits. Bad habits or small conditions are ok to deal with in the beginning of a marriage but after two years it can become unbearable for a spouse. If a wife has to constantly clean up the shoes that her husband leaves in the foyer, no matter how many times she tells him to put it in the closet. If a husband has to always pay for parking tickets because his wife never moves the car when they clean the street, if these problems are never fixed the marriage, sadly can end in divorce.

The obvious one that everyone thinks they have, but in actuality a lot don’t. One that is very important and a marriage cannot survive without, is compatibility. Oscar Wilde said that “Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether marriage or friendship, is conversation. A relationship can start off because of other reasons beside for compatibility, like money or looks but there has to be compatibility if the couple wants to have a normal relationship. 44.7 percent of men and 56.4 percent of women say that they were incompatible with their spouses and therefore got divorced (8).

You might have the question of, why can’t the couples ever solve their issues? A big contributing factor is the parents/in-laws. Parents usually have a “my child can do no wrong” outlook, and whenever a problem occurs in their child’s marriage it is automatically the other parties fault. Sometimes the parents even resort to name-calling their child’s spouse. This only makes the situation worse and adds to stress in the household.

If younger couples would think about all of these reasons, and determine whether they have the qualities needed for marriage. If they could be mature enough to admit to themselves and their partner if they are lacking in some qualities, or if they fix detrimental qualities about themselves before going into a marriage, the rate of divorce among younger couples would significantly drop.

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1. http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/227.html#1104 2. http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/227.html#1104 3. http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/227.html#1104                                                                                                                                           4. http://www.edivorcepapers.com/divorce-in-america/divorce-trends-in-america.html                                                                   5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse                                                                                                                                                           6. http://www.edivorcepapers.com/divorce-in-america/divorce-trends-in-america.html                                                                       7. http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/infidelitystats.html                                                                                                                     8. http://www.edivorcepapers.com/divorce-in-america/divorce-trends-in-america.html

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