What Really Causes Divorce?
Most divorce cases boil down to one fact: one or both partners became disinvested from the relationship. That is to say, they have lost all deliberate intention to stay in the marriage.
This willful detachment separates couples long before they move into different houses or file their divorce papers. By avoiding all feelings of investment, the person’s intentions are focused on doing as little as possible to preserve the union. They may even push back, purposefully criticizing or antagonizing the other partner.
A detached attitude can lead to resentment and disrespectful behavior, further deepening the rift. But these actions have little to do with the other partner but rather the person who feels disinvested. In other words, the desire to get divorced has far more to do with someone’s own mental state than it does with their partner’s actions. We’ve seen this in couples where one partner will do everything they can to repair the marriage, while the other interprets each attempt as an annoyance or even as malice.
So how do couples avoid divorce? They recommit to their commitment. It sounds trite, but it works.
Marriage and Dishes
Chances are good that, like most people, you are not a fan of doing dishes, but do you hate your dishes? Do you wish you could throw them all in the trash? Do you somehow think that life would be better if you just had a different set of dishes?
Ruminating over these points may feel silly, and that is because we don’t usually resort to drastic measures to solve such a minor problem. Yet, when dishes pile up and we don’t want to do them, we begin to make excuses and feel resentful that the situation exists. We wish the problem would just go away on its own somehow.
In most divorce cases, this is the exact same issue people face. The easy, carefree days of the relationship have passed, and suddenly it becomes work. In our effort to avoid work, we begin to assign blame or fantasize about how things could be different. But things are never easy, at least not in the long run. Like a sink full of stinky dishes, we let minor hangups and personal habits get in the way of a healthy relationship. Instead of tackling these problems, we get excited about the idea of new dishes.
So what’s the solution? Do the darn dishes! You’ll feel better afterwards, and the same can be said if you put effort back into your relationship.
Doing the Dishes of Your Relationship to Rekindle Intent
Try to take stock of your own actions, behaviors and words, and do everything you can to resolve any small messes that have gotten worse over time. When people first start dating, no gesture is too big and no amount of responsibilities will get in the way of their passion for the other person. That passion can be rekindled through mindfulness and a willingness to recognize the small things about ourselves we can change to make relationships work.
Here are some ways to make it work:
- Reflect on the first date or series of dates you had with your spouse. What excited you about them? What qualities seemed so important that you thought you could spend the rest of your life with them? Any time you begin to have negative thoughts about your spouse, think back to why you initially invested in them and how that was your choice, not something they forced you to do.
- Talk to each other. You would be amazed how a phrase like “how was your day?” goes towards reconnecting people. Take the time to listen, and turn off distractions like the TV or electronics.
- Find ways to make your spouse happy. Don’t expect a reaction, but any time you can do something just to improve their life or your home life, take the opportunity. Research shows that doing nice things for other people can improve your opinion of them.
- Hug it out. Long, 30 second hugs have mental and physical health benefits, especially between couples. Engage with one another and see if your emotions don’t improve.
- Always say goodbye, I love you, and goodnight. Never miss an opportunity to kiss and say goodbye before you part or before bed. Otherwise, your detachment may deepen.
- Remember you can only control yourself and your actions.
When the Number One Cause of Divorce Is Justified
We offer these tips to help couples who could legitimately make their partnership work. However, some relationships are objectively harmful or dangerous to one or both spouses.
If you feel like not staying in a relationship is genuinely in your best interests and not just the result of mental disinvestment, we are available for divorce education services as well as a free case assessment. Give us a call any time you are in need at 909-798-3300.
Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.