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Top Reasons Why Marriages End in Divorce

Published September 30, 2020
According to a 2019 study, divorcing couples are citing slightly different reasons for ending their marriage than in the past. It seems that personal fulfillment is a top priority for both individuals in a marriage, and feelings of disconnection are prompting more people to pursue a divorce. 

As the national divorce rate continues to hover around fifty percent, sociologists and psychologists are still exploring why some marriages last while others fail. As you prepare to walk down the aisle and become someone else’s life partner, divorce is probably the last thing on your mind. However, over time, small issues may arise that cause you to drift apart or decide that you would prefer to be independent. Whether you are just beginning your marriage journey or you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s worth taking a look at some recent findings that identify the top four reasons that couples decide to pursue a divorce. No matter what your circumstances may be, it’s important to remember that you always have a choice as to how you’d like to shape your future.

Lack of Intimacy and Communication Issues

According to a 2019 survey of 2,371 Danish residents who were recently divorced, nearly half of the respondents reported that their marriages ended because there was a lack of love or intimacy. Many of these individuals said that they had simply fallen out of love with their spouse, or that they didn’t feel connected to each other anymore. Respondents could select multiple reasons that contributed to their failing marriages, and about 44 percent said that their marriages had ended in divorce because of communication issues. This response was interpreted in several ways—the spouses had incompatible communication styles, one spouse was overly distracted, or one spouse was too closed off or unable to communicate effectively with the other spouse.

Lack of Connection and Growing Apart

The third most commonly cited reason for marriages ending was a lack of trust, connection, or respect. Just over one-third of participants selected this reason, explaining that they didn’t feel trusted or respected fully by their spouse, which led to deeper issues. Additionally, nearly one-third of respondents said that their marriages failed primarily because they simply grew apart from their spouse and developed different priorities and values. The majority of the respondents stated that there was not just one definite reason why they chose to pursue a divorce; rather, it was a gradual combination of several factors that eventually led to the decision to end the marriage.

Interpreting the Results

Interestingly enough, researchers found that these reasons tended to be more personal and emotional—a departure from past responses that were more rooted in specific behaviors of the other spouse. They concluded that “these findings are seen as supporting more recent findings that behavioral motives such as violence and addiction have declined over time while psychological and emotional divorce motives have increased.”

Ultimately, it seems that today’s couples are deeply focused on personal fulfillment, and if marriage is not serving the emotional needs of one partner, divorce becomes a viable option. Experts recommend that if you are starting to see signs that you are drifting apart from your spouse, you should commit to spending at least ten minutes each day to connect with each other in a meaningful way. Making eye contact, truly listening to a partner’s concerns, and simply being present for each other is a great way to keep you focused on your marriage and your goals for the future.


Of course, if you and your spouse have reached the conclusion that a divorce may be your best option, the skilled and compassionate divorce and family law attorneys at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. are here to help. Reach out to our Portland office today by calling (503) 233-8868 to make an appointment and discuss your goals.

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