It’s difficult to say how many marriages end up in divorce, but I think most of us know at least a few people who have been divorced. In fact, many of us know more people who have been divorced than have stayed in a marriage that lasted until death!
There are causes of divorce that are well-known. The thing that is less known is that it has just as much to do as when you get married and what type of family you come from as how you act in the marriage. In fact, when you get married and what type of family life you have been exposed to can be the deciding factor on how you act in the marriage and whether or not you are headed for a divorce.
Statistics say that 60 percent of marriages that happen between the ages of 20 and 25 result in divorce. In addition, children who have divorced parents have a higher chance of getting a divorce, especially if the spouse also comes from a divorced home. What does this tell us? The causes of divorce often have to do with a lack of experience in life and in love, which is expected of younger people, and poor relationship values adopted from childhood because children learn what they live, and then act on it. Let’s take a look at what those are.
Meddling Friends And Family Who Influence Your Thoughts And Behaviors
It’s bad enough when you have meddling friends and family who are actually thriving in a healthy relationship, but when you have family concerned about the decisions you are making because of your age, or injecting their own unhealthy relationship advice into your marriage, then it becomes very hard to focus on what is right and what is not right, and the state of the marriage can be affected greatly by it.
Meddling parents can cause fights between couples. Nosy and outspoken siblings and friends can cause someone to doubt their marriage and the strength of it. And, unhappy people can convince other people -especially young people without a lot of experience – that marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be and then inject horrible advice that ends up hurting the marriage more than anything.
Moreover, if someone grows up in an unhealthy environment, but still felt very close to their parents and took their opinion with great value, the chances are good that they will hold their opinion over what their spouse says or even what the experts say.
And, even if someone is not really close to their family, they may try to fight their advice, but the people who have been in their lives the longest often have a huge power over how they think and act in life. Their family’s opinion tends to matter, whether they want it to or not, and it influences their thoughts, which impacts how they behave in relationships.
Not Understanding What You Want In A Partner
Many young people jump into relationships based on lust, religion, or pressure, but they don’t take the time to date and discover what they really want in a long term partner. What results is similar to the first few relationships that anyone goes through – excitement, happiness, disappointment, hurt, anger, and pain. Usually this leads to a breakup, but because marriage is in the picture, it is harder to just leave and move on with your life.
That’s when people start to look for what they actually want, and if they see it, cheating can become an issue in the marriage because they feel a void that they want fulfilled. They know they want more. They want someone who acts differently, communicates differently, or shows them more love and respect. Since their partner can’t fill it, they look elsewhere.
Learning what you value and want in life is something we all go through, and in your early twenties, it’s hard to know those things because you lack the experience in life at that age.
And, if you’ve seen unhealthy relationship patterns in your parent’s marriage or other family members’ marriages, then it may seem that those relationship patterns are normal, not unhealthy.
For example, I know one woman who believes that constantly fighting in marriage is a part of every marriage. She believes that it is supposed to be a constant struggle, because that is what was demonstrated to her for her entire life. She has outright told me that happy marriages are just a fairy tale. But, at the same time, she is desperate to have someone in her life. She doesn’t feel that there is a perfect person out there for her, so she doesn’t bother taking the time to find him. She takes the next guy that comes along. With those beliefs in her corner, she was doomed to have two divorces, and I’m sure she will have more in her future.
Unrealistic Expectations Of A Marriage Requiring No Work
Being young, many people expect a perfect marriage that doesn’t require a lot of work. They go into it thinking that because they are so in love and in a great place, things are never going to change. When things do start to change (and they always do because people change), that’s when problems come in. They still have the lack of willingness to work on their marriage because they expect it to just work out, and those problems sit and fester until they become so huge that they cause other problems. Eventually there is too much to deal with and because the marriage has not magically fixed itself, they divorce.
Moreover, often times two people don’t like what they see in their partner after a few years when things start to change. When you are young, you really can’t understand what you want out of life yet because you haven’t had the life experience to give you that knowledge. So, as each person starts to understand more of who they are and what they want out of life, differences can literally be too big to handle. I’m especially talking about the big issues, such as where to live, finances, kids, and relationships expectations.
For instance, one person thinks they want kids when they are young, but after a few years they decide that they don’t want kids at all. Their spouse, who got married with the intention of having kids, is shocked, and that is a difference that is just too much to work through.
Kids also develop unrealistic expectations from their parents. Instead of working on the problems in the marriage as adults, complaining and blaming are common. Kids watching this will develop the belief that this is the way to solve problems in the marriage. And, if one of their parents gives in a lot, it may seem like a viable way to get things back on track. What they don’t see is that the one parent who always gives in is miserable and living in a state of unhappiness that will eventually lead to divorce.
Not Having The Ability To Provide What The Other Person Needs
Relationships are built on things like trust and good communication, and many young people just don’t have those skills yet. They worry about cheating, even when there are no signs. They blame and accuse their partner for things that are not their partner’s fault. And they don’t communicate in a way that solves problems; rather, they communicate in a way that creates more problems!
Again, if this is what they have seen from their parents, then it is going to be even harder for them to behave in a rational and healthy way. This is likely how they interacted with their parents too, because their parents demonstrated this behavior in all relationships. They couldn’t have not been trusting and able to communicate with their partner, but be trusting and able to communicate with their kids. Either you have a healthy amount of trust and know how to communicate properly, or you don’t. There’s no in between.
So, kids are taught all the unhealthy behaviors their parents have and they can’t give their partner the trust and communication they need to feel satisfied in the relationship. And, because those are so vital, it causes a divorce.
There are other behaviors that can be learned from parents in an unhealthy relationship that will ensure one person doesn’t get what they need. These are all causes of divorce.
1. Talking about their spouse behind their back: This is something that many kids see and learn from their parents. It is a very unhealthy habit because eventually the spouse hears about it and feels betrayed by the one person who shouldn’t be talking behind their back.
2. Treating their spouse as something other than a friend: For instance, seeing the spouse as someone who they live with, takes care of the kids, and helps pay the bills, but not necessarily someone they want to hang out with in their free time or confide in because that is reserved for friends. Kids see that their parent’s friends are treated with more respect, love, and attention, and they develop the belief that friends are more important than the spouse.
3. Not giving the affection a spouse needs to feel valued and comforted: It’s hard to be affectionate when you have been taught not to be affectionate. If you have ever seen a family that doesn’t give hugs or kisses to each other, then you have seen a child who has a hard time showing physical affection with other people – especially when they become an adult.
4. Not willing to share personal details about yourself: This comes from being taught that you are supposed to handle all your issues yourself and not burden other people with your problems. It becomes hard to share your emotions, fears, concerns, and even your celebrations with other people.
5. Not willing to work through issues and disagreements: I know one man who watched his father go to the garage during issues and disagreements between his parents and not come back into the house for days. He learned that the way to work through stuff was to ignore it, and he carried that unhealthy behavior into his marriage. Unfortunately, his wife felt ignored, but he didn’t know how else to handle it. They were divorced within a year.
6. Not being emotionally stable enough to offer emotional support: When you come from a stressful home and you are not emotionally stable yourself, how can you expect to offer emotional support? For instance, if you fly off the handle when things get a little tense, how can you help calm your partner down when they are feeling upset? It just can’t happen. Emotional intelligence is needed to offer other people the support they need when they need it.
7. Stuck in a place of ego and unwilling to validate and compliment spouse: When you grow up seeing that each parent thinks it’s all about them, then you take can easily take on the mentality that everything is about you. Since nobody else is willing to make things about you, it becomes necessary to protect yourself and put yourself in a place of priority. Unfortunately, that causes you to avoid lifting other people up. You don’t want to make other people feel good. You don’t want to offer other people encouragement that may take away from who you are. So, you hold back your words of encouragement and compliments, which results in them feeling a lack of support and interest from you.
8. Not willing to take ownership over the negative contribution to the relationship: People in unhealthy relationships often have a victim mentality. Not always, but often. People who don’t have a victim mentality tend to get out of the relationship quickly because they won’t allow themselves to be treated poorly, whereas people who do stay in the relationship long past its due date, do so because they are living in a victim mentality where life is hard and they want everyone to know how much they are going through and putting up with. If this is the behavior that was demonstrated to you growing up, you will find yourself falling into it, sometimes even if you are aware you are doing it. It’s very easy to get caught up into a victim mentality, and it easily offends your partner because you are either pointing the finger or acting like a victim, both of which are extremely frustrating to deal with.
In the end, being too young and having learned poor relationship behavior are two very real causes of divorce that need to be considered. Just like all causes of divorce, you can fix what’s wrong if you are aware of it. So, don’t pretend like your unhealthy family behavior didn’t have an impact on you. Or, don’t pretend like you weren’t too young to get married. Instead, admit it. Own it. And when you do, you can start looking for the help to fix the issue before you end up getting a divorce.