Why Do People Get Divorced

Staying Married

Yesterday the husband of one of my patients came to visit her. Nothing unusual about that, except that my patient was ninety years old and had been married for sixty-five years. Now you might think that after sixty-five years this couple would be bored stiff with each other and may be just going through the motions of staying together. Well, think again. This husband and wife huddled together, hugging and laughing and when it was time for him to leave, she linked her arm in his and escorted him to the door. All of us staff members smiled and commented on how wonderful it was to see such a display of love between two people who had spent more than half a century together.

Some important statistics

In this day and age when couples break up over silly things like one partner's snoring, or because they simply "lost that loving feeling," it was delightful to just look at this couple. According to statistics, the divorce rate in America for first marriages is 45 - 50%. For second and third marriages it can go as high as 73%. Can you imagine what the rate would be for fifth or sixth marriages?

Statistics also show that women 25 to 29 years old have a divorce rate of 16% and that couples with children have a slightly lower rate than childless couples. Well, my couple beat them on both counts. If she is now 90 and has been married 65 years, that makes her 25 when she was married. And, guess what? She and her husband have no children. Therefore it's not your age or whether you have children or not that would determine the longevity of your marriage.

So, what are the key factors that keep a marriage from ending in divorce. A few ideas come to mind.

1. Love. Okay, you might say that is a no-brainer. They wouldn't be getting married if they didn't love each other. But what does it mean to love? The next time you gaze into someone's eyes and whisper, "I love you," think of what you are saying. Do you love the person because of the way he/she looks right now? What he/she can do for you? How you feel when you are with him/her? All these are just superficial and may not last over the long haul.

2. Trust. Do you trust your mate? This is a big one, and something you should be certain about before you say, "I do." Because if he is not trustworthy now, what makes you think he'll be trustworthy 5 or 6 years down the road? According to statistics, 17% of divorces in the US are due to infidelity, with men being more likely to commit adultery. But trust has more wide-ranging implications; trust with finances, for example, is something that causes problems for a lot of married couples.

3. Interests. You may have heard the family that plays together stays together. The same goes for couples. What interests do you share? What brought you together in the first place? If all you share is between the sheets, that will diminish by the time you get home from your honeymoon. If you find you and your mate drifting apart because you have different interests, try to learn more about his interests and invite him to participate in yours. You'll both learn something new and maybe some sparks will fly.

4. Beliefs. Do you know that couples separate over religion? This is why I personally believe that biblical instructions give us the best guide for living and should be followed. The Bible states we should not be "unequally yoked," meaning that a believer should not go outside the church and marry an unbeliever. Even though some Christian marriages do end in divorce, the numbers are still lower for Christians, 26%, for non-Christians 36%.

5. Commitment. Anyone who is married will tell you that marriage is not something for the faint-hearted. It takes lots of work, perseverance and commitment. You have to be able to commit to staying married when your spouse is out of work, when she is sick, when she loses her figure (moving along) and when she is tired from running after the children. If you do not have the personality to stick it out "for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health." then marriage may not be for you.

So, how does your marriage stack up? I've tried to list the major contributors to a good marriage. I'm sure you can name more. I'll try to speak with my little ninety-year-old patient and ask her what made her marriage so successful. If I do, I'll come back and let you know. In the meantime, if your marriage seems a little shaky right now, I hope these points will help you get back on track. if you're contemplating marriage, these can help you establish a solid footing on which to base your future.

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Comments 21 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

It's because we expect the euphoria we experience while ‘falling in love’ to last forever, and are very disappointed when it does not. Sooner or later, the early romance is replaced by everyday living, and either we learn to love the person we now see without the rose colored glasses of falling in love, or we will fail.

They are the same person we married. It’s the false way we viewed them in the beginning that is gone.

quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida Author

That is so true, WillStarr. Many people expect to remain in the honeymoon phase forever and forget that marriage is about real life. Thanks for your comments.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I have always wanted this kind of love. I know it is so rare. To see old people like this act so in love is just from somewhere in the soul I think. Great great, thank you so much for sharing. Up and sharing.

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

My parents were married over 65 years when my mom passed away. Dad had sat at her side for the final 2 years every waking hour. They loved and were devoted to each other literally "until death we do part".

Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

One must keep in mind that some of the "elderly" divorces that are happening do not result in spouses splitting up physically. Due to the way that social services as well as other retiree benefits are set up, our elderly can many times benefit better by not being "legally" married. This is a sad state of affairs, but a reality. Our elderly have the least amount of stablility when it comes to support and income as well as health concerns and issues.

Well done hub! Voted up, interesting and useful.

quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida Author

@ Jackie Thanks for your comment. You are right, this kind of love is rare, especially these days, but it's still not impossible.

quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida Author

That is so beautiful. My parents had a wonderful marriage, but my father passed when I was only ten. They had been married many years before.

quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida Author

Dale, thanks for your comment. I know that the elderly are at a disadvantage in a lot of ways, but are you saying they would get better benefits if they divorced?

bodylevive profile image

bodylevive 4 years ago from Alabama, USA

Hi quildon, a very interesting hub-voted up. Dale Hyde is correct, the system sees two incomes and many benefits that are available for the elderly some or most do not qualify for the benefits. I live in Alabama, my Mom lived to be 92 and since she was in the home with me, she did not qualify for many benefits due to my income.My Dad was already deceased and when her health began to fail I move her into the home with me. Now my husband and I face the same thing, we don't qualify for anything because of combined income. I think it is awful that you work all of your life and when you're elderly and could use a helping hand it's drawn back because you're 15-20 dollars over what they call proverty level.

quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi bodylevive, thanks for stopping by. I think it's a shame the way the elderly are treated after giving their best years to their country. And these days all we hear is spending cuts where the people who most need a helping hand are penalized. Now I see why so many people end up in nursing homes instead of living more comfortably with their loved ones.

kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Hi quildon! I love nice love stories...and this one is just wonderful! 65 years and still in love, that's what I am aiming for :-)

I agree with your five key factors to keep a mariage going strong : love, trust, interests, beliefs and commitment! They are all important!

I couldn't participate to your poll.... I am married since 1976....so almost 37 years. Your pole stops at 30!

Voted up and awsome!

quildon profile image

quildon 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi kidscrafts,

Thanks for your lovely comments and congratulations to you on being married 37 years. Did I mention I've been married 43 years? I didn't realize the poll stopped at 30. I guess they think few people go beyond that. Well, we have news for them, don't we?

kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Congratulation to you too :-) Did you know that the oldest married couple is American and they have been married for 80 years! You and I have still a long way to go ;-)

You can read the article here : http://yhoo.it/Xc5TKi. Cute story!


quildon profile image

quildon 3 years ago from Florida Author

That's so sweet. This proves true love always wins. I wonder what would have happened if Anne had married the man her father chose for her.

toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 3 years ago

Very well done hub. It was sweet and inspiring to read about the elderly couple. It is so rare a story and what a shame. I think there are many reasons for divorce. But it seems like a lot of couples don't want to do the work it takes to make things right between them. I think people take each other for granted and the world seems more exciting with someone new. And I think some of it has to do with the greater demands on women these days compared to decades ago. This couple obviously had the determination to get through all the obstacles to make it as long as they have. Thanks for putting this beautiful hub together. Rated up, interesting, beautiful, and awesome.

quildon profile image

quildon 3 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you so much, toknowinfo. You're right, many people don't expect to work to keep their marriage together. They think it will be wine and roses forever, but it doesn't work that way. Both partners have to keep replenishing the wine and roses in order for it to last.

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 3 years ago from Philippines

Very nice article, and very helpful, too. Oftentimes we know these things but forget them when it comes to the actual doing. Having it laid out this way, in an organized and readable way makes it easier. If my daughter ever gets married I will print this out and put it on her refrigerator:).

quildon profile image

quildon 3 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you for your lovely comments, grand old lady! I agree we have to keep these things in the forefront of our minds otherwise we forget. Merry Christmas!

savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago

There's nothing cuter than seeing really old couples holding hands. It gets me every time. Your hub got straight to the point with some useful nuggets of practical advice. I hope that more people who contemplate marriage will take your message to hear. Well done, quildon.

quildon profile image

quildon 2 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, savvydating! I think the old couples seem to hold hands more than the younger ones.

savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago


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