The Real Reasons for Divorce:
Why Are People Like You Getting Divorced?
Divorce rates continue to climb, even among “normal” people like you and me. But why do these marriages end? The reasons that these couples give for divorce may surprise you.
You’ve probably seen all kinds of stories about celebrity divorces—stories that reveal the many reasons for divorce that they give, including infidelity in their marriages. But is that how it works in the real world when people get divorced? What kinds of reasons do people like you and me give for getting divorced?
In 2011, Grant Thornton UK LLP, an organization of law firms in the United Kingdom put together a survey that analyzed the reasons that people get divorced. It polled 101 of the UK’s leading family lawyers, asking them to recall divorce stories from their clients. The organization has been monitoring divorce rates with this survey for eight years, but this is the first time that the top reason has changed.
So what is the top reason for divorce that these lawyers gave? The lawyers said the top reason for divorce was “falling out of love.” This response garnered 27 percent of the top-spot votes. Infidelity, meanwhile, garnered 25 percent of the top-spot votes.
Falling out of love?
That means that, according to these lawyers’ divorce stories, the most popular reason for divorce is simply losing interest in the marriage. Have you heard stories like that? Where a spouse just loses interest in the marriage after several years and decides that getting divorced is the only option? That sort of spontaneity seems like it would be limited to petty celebrity divorces. However, the Grant Thornton study shows that the reasons for divorce may be more similar than we’d like to think.
Maybe this loss of interest—and the startling divorce rates that result—stems from a misunderstanding about the purpose of marriage in the first place. After all, if we think of marriages in terms of merely satisfying our own personal needs and desires, it makes sense that we would get divorced when the marriage stops meeting those needs.
But what if marriage is about way more than just providing an enjoyable experience for us? What if, in marriage, two people unite to accomplish a task and a purpose bigger than themselves?
The Bible and the Purpose of Marriage
There is a purpose to marriage beyond meeting our own needs-- a God-given purpose. The Bible paints the picture that marriage is about two people coming together, becoming one, and growing to reflect the character of God better than they could alone.
Think about your spouse or significant other. Think about all of the differences between you-- the differences in personality, communication style, temperament, and attitude. Think about the days where one of you is up and the other is down. When two people come together in marriage, in a sense, those differences come together to complement one another. Maybe you're a wise person but you're not very patient (both traits of God). When you marry someone who is patient, you two come together to form a fuller picture of God's character.
And that sense of complementing one another draws both of you into an intimacy unknown by the unmarried. As you work to meet each other's needs and fulfill God's purpose for marriage, lo and behold, your own needs end up getting met. Funny how that works.
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