Top ten “dumb” reasons why couples get divorced

Top ten “dumb” reasons why couples get divorced March 26, 2015
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
Image credit: Shutterstock.com

As an advocate for stronger marriages, I’m always interested to learn from couples who get divorced, so that I can help other couples avoid making those same mistakes.

Some paths to divorce are very understandable. When there are longterm patterns of deceit, addiction, abuse or infidelity, it’s easy to see why the marriage ended. In other cases, however, the reasons seem just plain “dumb” to me. I’m not saying this to beat up on anybody or to poke fun at the seriousness of divorce, but I’m trying to help us all see that there are often much better options than divorce*.

*As a quick disclaimer, the point of this post isn’t to try to get you to “settle” by staying in a miserable marriage or to make you feel badly for having some of these thoughts about divorce. Rather, I’m trying to help you see the poor excuses that motivate couples to call it quits when they could be focusing on the ways to work together as a couple to make the marriage all it could be. 

Here are some of the dumbest reasons I’ve heard for getting a divorce (in no particular order):

1. “We’ve grown apart.” (or “We’ve fallen out of love.”)

On the surface, this sounds reasonable, but when you get to the root of it, it’s dumb. It’s a misrepresentation of love. Love isn’t just a feeling; it’s a commitment. When we base our choices on our feelings instead of our commitments, we’re destined to never have a solid relationship. Base your marriage on your commitments and your feelings will usually catch up. Invest time into each other. That’s the only way to make a marriage work.

Dave-Willis-real-love-quote-DaveWillis.org_

2. “We disagree about money.”

I’ve seen several recent studies that say money-related issues are now the number one reason for divorce. The reason why it’s “dumb” to divorce because of money is that the process of divorce causes more financial devastation than almost anything else (that’s why divorce attorneys are rich and divorced people are broke). It’s important to get on the same page with money, but don’t divorce over it!

To help you out, check out my post on 4 simple ways to remove financial stress from your marriage.

Dave Willis DaveWillis.org marriage is not 50-50 but 100-100 divorce quote

3. “I’d be happier alone or with someone else.”

Happiness isn’t “dumb” but throwing away your marriage in the pursuit of it is. One of the most dangerous lies in our culture is the myth that the “pursuit of happiness” is more important than our integrity, our family, our commitments, or any other factor. Ironically, those who buy into this myth of chasing happiness usually end up as very unhappy people.

4. “We’re just too different.”

“Irreconcilable differences” is one of the most common (and one of the dumbest) reasons for divorce, and it’s a myth. There’s really no such thing. Couples who make it work aren’t the most “compatible;” they’re the most committed. For more on this, read my posts on Overcoming incompatibility in marriage and also ask yourself these 6 questions to ask before getting a divorce.

5. “My friends think I should get divorced.”

Chances are, your friends are dumb (at least when it comes to marriage advice). If someone doesn’t love you AND love your spouse too, they’ll never give reliable marriage advice. Besides, you didn’t vow a lifelong commitment to those friends, so if you have to choose between new friends or a new spouse, get some new friends.

Dave Willis DaveWillis.org marriage advice quote

6. “We have different parenting styles.”

So, let me get this straight…you don’t parent the same way, but it will somehow work better when you have two different houses, two different sets of rules and expectations, split custody, shared holidays, child support, inconsistent schedules, and a mountain of other post-divorce complications? Parenting is tough. I get it! But, working through it together as husband and wife is so much easier than navigating it after divorce.

To help you and your spouse get on the same page, check out this post on 7 ways parents harm their children without even realizing it.

7. “I can’t forgive him/her.”

Refusing to forgive over a past offense doesn’t punish the other person; it only hurts us. It’s been said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies.” If you don’t choose to forgive, you’ll take that bitterness with you whether you’re married or divorced. Forgiveness doesn’t mean they’re “off the hook” or that it doesn’t hurt; it simply means choosing to pursue healing instead of punishment or resentment. 

8. “My spouse needs to change, but won’t.”

I’m sure your spouse has issues, but it’s not your job to change them. The only part of your marriage (or any relationship) you can change is the part you see when you look in the mirror.

9. “Our sex life is lousy.”

Sex is definitely an important part of marriage, but if you would leave a marriage simply to pursue more sex, then you’re on a dangerous path. For more ways to improve the sexual intimacy and satisfaction in your marriage, check out our new video series.

bestsexlifenow1

10. “I’m tired of being married.”

Look, I’m not trying to beat you up here, but we make our worst decisions when we’re tired and frustrated. Marriage in real-life is a lot harder than it looks in movies, but the real thing is so worth it when you don’t give up. If you really want to make your marriage work, it can work. Take it one day at a time. Below are some resources to help you get started.

For ongoing encouragement to help you build a divorce-proof marriage, connect with me on Facebook by clicking here, and you can read my wife Ashley’s blog (she’s AWESOME), and also watch my FREE video on “How to have a stronger marriage.” You can also check out our books by clicking here.

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  • Damon Kinney

    Great post with even better points here David. You really out did yourself on this one.

    If only more people felt this way or could just understand the basic logic you speak about in each topic, imagine how much less divirce we would have in America.

    Maybe someday though.

    I want to thank my Wife Stephanie for sharing this post with me. Even though our marriage is rough sometimes, and other times it can flat out suck. There is no one else on this earth I would rather be married to, for better for worse babe.

  • Cosmic

    Human arrogance truly knows no bounds.

  • Melisa

    I agree with all these but my husband doesn’t. After 24 years of marriage and three kids, he thinks we don’t have a spark or connection any longer and have nothing in common. He won’t make any effort to fix things because he thinks he’s in love with someone else and he’ll be happier with her. She’s married with kids too so this will be destroying two families.

  • Debbie Stanley

    Hi all! Another
    reason for divorce – passion one of the spouses online meeting and communication. Most often the reason for all of this phenomenon –
    a lack of communication within the
    family. Husband or wife create profiles on dating sites, such
    as POF, OKCupid, Tinder or https://kovla.com/datings/us/ and begin dating
    online. If the existence of this profile learns the other spouse, it can lead to
    divorce.

  • Tova Rischi

    “Dumb”? You’re dumb.

    1. “We’ve grown apart.”
    code for “I feel incredibly alone and lack the strength to move forward. My partner isn’t giving me any strength, and if I don’t break this up now, it’s going to push to the point of suicide before I have enough time to make up the forward investment.”

    2. “We disagree about money.”
    code for “they spent 10 grand in savings on a ponzi scheme and I seriously fear for my and my children’s future safety”.

    3. “I’d be happier alone or with someone else.”
    code for “I’ve contemplated killing either them or myself, and I’d rather not either or risk giving myself the temptation”
    4. “We’re just too different.”
    see 1
    5. “My friends think I should get divorced.”

    My own mother was separated from her first husband because her friends
    thought his coke habit was pretty destructive. Her next husband… well,
    my first memory is her getting her head smashed by a beer bottle per him.

    6. “We have different parenting styles.”

    code for any of “they’re abusive/neglectful/opposed to my religion”, in my experience. They tend to seek full custody.

    7. “I can’t forgive him/her.”
    exposing people to a risk of aids is bad yo. Also disloyalty is usually a character flaw that no amount of religion can cure; if offending partner has done it once, they’re more than likely to do it again. I’m sorry, humans aren’t that good-natured.

    8. “My spouse needs to change, but won’t.”
    “my spouse won’t stop beating me or my kids, I don’t want them to become a muderer.”

    9. “Our sex life is lousy.”
    “he’s gay. I’d rather be alone than come home to him ploughing some hiv-infected rainbow hair twink that thinks he’s a horse”

    10. “I’m tired of being married.”
    could be a lot of things, like “I’m not telling you” “they’re a million times better off than with a loser like me” “I’m going to cheat on her anyways, I might as well make it so she doesn’t have to suffer an affair.” or so on

    Before you call someone dumb you really should consider that people lie. People lie very deeply, weaving wonderful stories that seem ill-thought out. Especially in therapy.

    Admittedly though all of these are from marriages I’ve seen break up, including my parent’s and my grandma’s. So I guess feel free to completely show me the door with both fingers while chanting “anecdotal evidence” like it was a kyrie

  • স্মৃতিলেখা চক্রবর্ত্তী

    Marriage definitely needs to be stronger. However, sometimes, a divorce is a much healthier option than staying in a “bad marriage”.
    Now, how much is ‘too much’ depends upon the individuals.

  • Md. Iqbal Khan

    WHY HAVE YOU DEVORCED YOUR HUSBAND ??? CAN HE NOT SATISFY YOU SEXUALLY ?

  • Mei Lynn A Walker

    I’m not saying this to beat up on anybody or to poke fun at the seriousness of divorce, but I’m trying to help us all see that there are often much better options than divorce*….but, you wrote an article, stating you felt these reasons for divorce are dumb. I think you are judgmental and dumb.

  • Something Is Wrong

    Trent, you almost have some valid points… except that you don’t because the author already put in a disclaimer covering all of your points before even beginning the list. Read the whole thing next time. What the author is saying is that there are way too many divorces for really stupid reasons that don’t fit into the parameters you felt you had to bring attention to but that the author had already brought attention to. And you know what? He’s right. I know far more people who divorce for stupid reasons than who divorce for legitimate, solidly irreconcilable reasons.

  • Something Is Wrong

    So the premise of your argument that the author is “dumb” is by citing some of the most extreme exceptions and explanations possible for all of his points? Maybe you missed it in your self-absorption, but the author actually put a disclaimer just before the list he gave in which he briefly covered extreme examples such as yours and said they’re perfectly justified reasons for divorce. He’s not referring at all to the extreme examples you give (which are actually the exception, not the rule) but to people whose reasons really are just as shallow as the list says (and yes, I’ve personally known many more people who fall into these listed categories than fall into your extreme categories). If divorces really fall into your description as much as you allude, then this world must be a much more hellish place than I ever realized (considering how high divorce rates are these days) and we must all be surrounded by and associating daily with psychopaths and scum to such a degree that it’s a miracle for anybody to find anyone else worth marrying at all. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a pretty dumb way of looking at life and marriage.

  • Something Is Wrong

    I’m quoting this here since you obviously missed it. Reading the whole article does amazing things for you.

    “Some paths to divorce are very understandable. When there are longterm patterns of deceit, addiction, abuse or infidelity, it’s easy to see why the marriage ended. In other cases, however, the reasons seem just plain “dumb” to me. I’m not saying this to beat up on anybody or to poke fun at the seriousness of divorce, but I’m trying to help us all see that there are often much better options than divorce*.

    *As a quick disclaimer, the point of this post isn’t to try to get you to “settle” by staying in a miserable marriage or to make you feel badly for having some of these thoughts about divorce. Rather, I’m trying to help you see the poor excuses that motivate couples to call it quits when they could be focusing on the ways to work together as a couple to make the marriage all it could be. ”

    And yes, her examples are extreme and the exception. Now, if you can please cite from this article where he says that for the most horrific of marriages you should “stay and pray”, I’d appreciate that… but I won’t be holding my breath.

    I’m going to guess, based on your response and other posts you’ve made on this thread, that you are one of those guys who claims to have never had an argument with his wife (really, with your policy of “say the word and move on”, how could you have had any serious arguments?) and you know, that’s really sad. You see, it’s through those tough conflicts and working through them that the relationship grows the most. Your disapproval of marital commitment indicates heavily that there is no real commitment or investment in your marriage and that it is likely fairly empty (even if it has lasted 30 years). Not to mention that you sound like an incredibly selfish person (“My marital goal is happiness, affection and sex; if they’re not present, WHY am I married?” it’s all about you, isn’t it? I feel sorry for your wife) this is supported as well by your disdain for any kind of marital commitment or conviction; always leaving yourself an out if you happen to find yourself unfulfilled.

    In marriage, as in all things, where little is risked, little is gained. Think of it like working out, where little resistance is met, little strength is gained and unless there is a really strong motivation or even a need to put in the extra effort, there will be little progress no matter how long you do it for. I’m guessing, again based on your own words, that your marriage is the type where you both show up to the proverbial gym, walk on the treadmill for a little while, and then go home. Sad.

    ps – I’m sure your wife finds it comforting that if she ever neglects to give you sex, doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, or develops any personal problems that she just can’t seem to work through on her own that you’ll just leave her instead of sticking with her and helping her through it. Sounds like a really loving relationship there (that was sarcasm, if you didn’t detect it right away). You sir, are pathetic.

  • catfish198

    Some people marry to get out of the house,Some marry for financial security,and soon find out they married a loser.Some marry control freaks and can`t accept being a subject.Some marry a pretty woman who inside turns out not to be pretty on the inside The reasons go on,and they`aren’t necessarily dumb.

  • Brown Wayde

    “Forgiveness” is dumb. It has nothing to do with oneself. It’s not a part of any solution. You break a plate on the floor and apologize to the plate, nothing has changed. And if the plate could say I FORGIVE YOU FOR BREAKING ME, it still doesn’t matter since the plate is still broken. You can pick up the pieces, but it will never be as strong as before–as with anything that was once broken…

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  • Derek Natasha

    Hi, my name is Derek Natasha. I have been in great bondage for almost 2 years suffering in the hands of a cheating husband, we were happy and leaving well until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her outside our marriage before you knew it he stopped caring and taking care of his own family to the extent that he was planning to get married to her and divorce me, i cried and reported him to his family but he never listened to any one but to cut my story short i came in search for a real spell caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me and our 2 kids on my search i saw people making testimony on how their marriage where restored by Dr.Amigo i pick his email and i narrated my story to him and he agreed to help me and after performing a spell on the second day both of them had a quarrel and he beat his girlfriend up and he came home begging for me and our little kids to forgive him that his eyes are clear now that he will never do any thing that will hurt his family again and promise to be a caring father and never cheat again. I am so happy that i did not loose him to the girl. all appreciation goes to Dr.Amigo for he is a Great spell caster and to whom this may concern if you have a cheating husband or wife or you need your ex lover back again. you can as well email him on (dr.amigo71@gmail.com)

  • Dave C

    You completely missed the point, and the examples you give are of couples that have real problems like abuse. This article is about relationships that have trouble that is totally fixable but instead someone in the relationship throws in the towel and it affects everyone involved, children, grandparents, etc. I know this from experience, my ex divorced me for “irreconcilable differences”, since she has been cheated on on both relationships, one of them was a marriage that lasted a bit over a year and my 3 children are an emotional mess. We were married 15 yrs and now she is always looking for me for help. Of course there a valid reasons for divorce, there are valid reasons for anything in life, but most people use any reason and weak excuse for a divorce… the other mistake my ex did is listen to a girlfriend that was going thru a divorce and coached her to divorce me, they are no longer friends.

  • Cougar R.

    This article is a crock of shit.

  • Ben Emerick

    you are not a plate you are a human…forgiveness have everything to do with oneself.

  • Ben Emerick

    and of course by saying that you are being judgmental…and by me telling you that I am being judgmental…so what’s your point. I agree with the author. Too many people getting divorces for really bad reasons…if they can’t commit…stay single.

  • Benny Carter

    Why a crock? Are you divorced?

  • Cougar R.

    Well the entire article seems geared towards there not being a reason to ever get divorced. This article caught me on a bad day. But I am the most committed person and I have known only had two serious relationships in my entire life my second being my marriage and I have never quit anything ever. And it isn’t working. And when I look towards my future I do not picture a future w my wife. I work make all the money she coasts w an entry level position and an education level higher than mine. She goes out weekly and binge drinks and refuses to make changes for me. It’s a turn off and unattractive when I feel like I have been the only adult in the relationship for the past married. She has wanted kids and prior to us getting married I made it clear i wasn’t sure. Now I’m certain I do not want kids ESP w the current state of the relationship and idk if I can live up to the responsibility of living For Her considering she is giving Up having a family for me. A lot of these issues have hit a boiling point here in our early 30s and right now it’s make or break time. W all of this I find it irresponsible moving foward. Being clear minded and smart about things and thinking about our futures there doesn’t seem to be enough here to gamble on things and move Foward. I have a pension and my life’s savings to consider and no kids involved and I have seen many men in my profession left w nothing after divorce after splitting up w 10 + years invested into a marriage. Considering what I am seeing now I don’t think it’s smart for me to Risk that 5 years in. This article as well meaning as it is seems to say there isn’t a reason ever to split.

  • Cougar R.

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    Cougar R.
    a few seconds ago
    Well the entire article seems geared towards there not being a reason to ever get divorced. This article caught me on a bad day. But I am the most committed person and I have known only had two serious relationships in my entire life my second being my marriage and I have never quit anything ever. And it isn’t working. And when I look towards my future I do not picture a future w my wife. I work make all the money she coasts w an entry level position and an education level higher than mine. She goes out weekly and binge drinks and refuses to make changes for me. It’s a turn off and unattractive when I feel like I have been the only adult in the relationship for the past married. She has wanted kids and prior to us getting married I made it clear i wasn’t sure. Now I’m certain I do not want kids ESP w the current state of the relationship and idk if I can live up to the responsibility of living For Her considering she is giving Up having a family for me. A lot of these issues have hit a boiling point here in our early 30s and right now it’s make or break time. W all of this I find it irresponsible moving foward. Being clear minded and smart about things and thinking about our futures there doesn’t seem to be enough here to gamble on things and move Foward. I have a pension and my life’s savings to consider and no kids involved and I have seen many men in my profession left w nothing after divorce after splitting up w 10 + years invested into a marriage. Considering what I am seeing now I don’t think it’s smart for me to Risk that 5 years in. This article as well meaning as it is seems to say there isn’t a reason ever to split.

  • Cougar R.

    Also I didn’t read the disclaimer. I guess I just have. Felt guilty about my current situation though I do feel my thought process and decisions are what’s best for myself and the misses who I still care deeply about.

  • “Love isn’t just a feeling; it’s a commitment”. WTF? Says who? YOU? You are defining “love” for everyone now? OMG, how arrogant. Sometimes, the most loving thing two people can do is let each other go. Dude, you live in a dream world. I know plenty of people who are waaaaayy happier, and more loving toward each other AFTER divorce. Sometimes, people do grow apart. You’re advice is terrible, anachronistic, and unrealistic.