GOOD SAMARITAN: Divorce risk factors

By Charmaine Caldwell, PhD, LPC-S

Do you know how common divorce is in the United States? Almost half of all marriages end in divorce. Research shows that about 40%-50% of all first marriages and 60%-65% of second marriages will end in divorce. Statistics also show that many divorced people wish they would have tried harder before ending the marriage.

Risk Factors associated with a higher rate of divorce:

Young age—especially in the early years of marriage. Less education—people who have at least some college education have a lower chance of divorce, while those with only a high school education or no high school education have a greater chance of divorce. Lower income—stress associated with lower socioeconomic. Premarital cohabitation—couples who get engaged and then move in together have a commitment to marriage, reducing the risk of divorce. Childbearing and pregnancy prior to marriage, no religious affiliation, parents’ divorce are other risk factors.

Risk factors are an indication of a greater chance of divorce, not necessarily a definite prediction for divorce. Many happily married couples can have more than one risk factor and still have a solid marriage.

Reasons people give for divorce:

Research has found the most common reasons given for divorce are lack of commitment, too much arguing, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations, lack of equality in the relationship, lack of preparation for marriage, falling out of love, and abuse.

3 Clear and valid reasons for divorce:

The following situations deserve special consideration: 1. Abuse—where there is a pattern of abuse in a marriage or in a family, a divorce is usually best for all involved. Help is available for the abused; children do not fare well when exposed to abuse whether physical, psychological, or emotional. 2. Infidelity—Most Americans say they would end their marriage if their spouse cheated on them. However, many couples do find the will and strength to stay together. Help is available through counseling. 3. Addictions—an addicted person has a compulsive, chronic, physiological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects, and typically causing well-defined symptoms upon withdrawal or abstinence. (Webster). Help is available for both partners—the addict and their spouse. Many families, careers, and lives have been ruined because of addictions.

If you are experiencing problems with your marriage or with any mental health issues, please call Samaritan Counseling Center for help at 432-563-4144.