Most Common Reasons Married Couples Divorce & How to Stop It

Divorce Prevention Advice: Quality Time, Communication, Laughter, Dreaming & Recreation

//Why Married Couples Divorce & 5 Tips to Prevent it

Why Married Couples Divorce & 5 Tips to Prevent it

The experience of a breakup is amongst the worst stresses you’ll ever go through. Some describe it as being worse than the death of a loved one.

The numbers for divorce run between 40-50%. Can we confidently trust it won’t happen to us?

Top reason for divorce?

Studies throughout the world claim that “growing apart” is why marriages are primarily failing.

I see this in my Calgary counselling offices all the time. Couples describe themselves as “not feeling connected”. They are worried and wonder if they can recreate what was lost.

Should we be worried?

Well, the divorce rate has risen and Statistics Canada states that the longer a couple lives together the higher the chances for divorce. Why?

Consider these reasons couples divorce:

  • Infidelity (25%)
  • Unreasonable behaviour (17%)
  • Mid-life crisis (10%)
  • Money (5%)

Yet, “growing apart” tops the charts at 27%. What can we do to stop this trend?

We are living longer than generations before us

Could it be the longer we live together the higher the chances of two people growing apart, or could it be the greater we take one another for granted and fail to keep on nurturing our love?

Untended love can be compared to a chequing account. Money goes in. Money goes out. Love goes in. Love goes out. Deposits. Withdraws. An even balance is maintained, but it doesn’t grow. We don’t work hard at growing a chequing account. No. When the balance rises we move the surplus into savings or investments.

To keep a marriage happy we need to do more than just maintain an even balance. We need to see our investment grow.

What can be done?


#1 Quality time

Spend consistent time together. Plan it. Schedule it in. Keep it frequent. Keep it interesting, fun and intimate. When you do this, you are telling your partner that they are a priority to you. We say “You matter”, not just with our words but also by the quality of time we spend with them. Nothing says it better.

#2 Communicate

Be honest about the problems, don’t shove them under the carpet. Even when it may be difficult, bring up aspects of your relationship that are leading to unhappiness. Let your partner know that you love them and are committed when you bring these up.

Also, complement them often and daily. Notice not just the physical traits, but also the personality traits and say things like, “I appreciate how generous you are… or organized, creative, fun, diligent, studious, hard-working, playful, kind, gentle, passionate…

#3 Laugh often

Enjoying each other is key to keeping a couple’s love alive. Be playful. Watch funny videos together. Do things that make you laugh. Sit at a restaurant, look around, and try to guess what the other tables are talking about without getting to serious. Laughter releases positive hormones in our brains that help enhance bonding.

#4 Recreation

Do activities that you can both appreciate. Do something new! Make 3 lists of things you can do together. One list of activities that take 15 minutes. Another of activities that take 30 minutes to an hour. A third list of activities that take a half or full day. When you have only 15 minutes together, choose something from the list to do and enjoy. Make this list together. Keep it creative.

#5 Keep dreaming

Talk of how you’re going to keep building a future together. Don’t just talk about the stress and bills piling up as you do. Expand your communication to a vision of your future and what it would look like to reach your goals.

Talk of a future trip you want to take. A concert you want to go to. The mortgage and what you can do when the payments get lower over time, or eliminated all together.

Research has shown that these five activities help enhance a couple’s connection and sense of future building together.

How are you doing in the above five areas?

If the above actions don’t work for you, then seek professional help. Couples or marriage counselling is a lot cheaper than divorce. You loved one another once. It is very possible to repair what isn’t working anymore, with the right help.

– Written by Michael Haggstrom, Doctor in Counselling, Calgary, Helping Couples Thrive

Want Professional Advice?

At Solutions for Life Calgary we help couples repair and fix issues preventing them from thriving.

Call Us if you need help making your love last, or Email. We’re here to help.

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  1. Jen March 17, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure if I need marriage counselling, or if it’s too late. We live separate lives. There’s no intimacy. It’s like being roommates. We annoy each other, but bottle it and then blow . The fighting isn’t good. It never used to be this way. I don’t even know when it changed. Does having kids and careers make this happen? This isn’t the life I wanted. I think I’m bitter. I feel trapped. Is there any hope for us? I don’t want to divorce but we’re not happy. I’m afraid to bring up marriage counselling with my husband. He’s independent and will probably think it’s a waste of money. What can I do?

    • CalgaryCounsellors March 25, 2017 at 8:24 am - Reply

      Hello Jen, There’s a lot to your story. Sometimes a couple can come to the place where they feel like they have lost the feelings of what once brought them together. That doesn’t mean the relationship is over, but that you need to find ways to invest positively in making love last. I’m curious as to what the fighting is about. It sounds like it’s generalized, which may mean that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Anger can often be a superficial emotion, where hiding behind it is some kind of hurt or disappointment. How can you turn what you wanted out of the marriage into something positive, instead of being bitter? To get your husband into counselling, you may want to start with yourself first in order to get clarity on what you are looking for. Then, see if your husband will go with you to joint counselling. You have children together. The cost of divorce is much more expensive than getting counselling. Those can be two important factors that may help him to see that seeking to fix the relationship is worth the investment. I wish you well Jen. The place you are at is a tough one. It took you time to get here. It will take time to repair. Be patient and trust that if you are proactive, things can get better.

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