Feb 112014 93 Responses

The Number One Cause of Divorce

(The following is an excerpt from Friends, Partners & Lovers)

I’m convinced the number one cause of divorce is not adultery, financial problems, or irreconcilable difference. Those are most often symptoms of a deeper problem.

While these problems might be real, I believe there is a bigger issue.

The most common issue I see with couples who are struggling in marriage is a lack of intentional investment in their marriage.

While it’s a fair debate of which comes first—did someone lose interest so they lost intention or did someone lose intention so they lost interest—either way there is a key idea:

We can influence our feelings by intentionally investing in our marriage.

As I’ve written before, our affections often grow toward our investments. Wherever we put our time, money, and energy also ends up receiving our passion, interest, and affection.

Think about what this means for a marriage: you will generally feel for your spouse to the extent in which you invest in your spouse.

Your feelings are often far less about them and far more about what effort you have put into your marriage.

Obviously there are exceptions. Some people have made bad choices in who they married or the spouse has made a bad choice in who they have become, but most of the time, we love our spouse to the extent that we invest in our spouse. (See: Marry a Partner, Not a Child)

Consider what this means: if your feelings of love are waning, they can be recovered. With some effort, intention, and energy, love can grow.

Every week I interact with marriages which are suffering. I am often like a triage nurse who observes the couple, makes an initial determination of the seriousness of their illness, and then gets them with the right specialist so the expert can assist them with the issue. As the couple leaves our initial interaction, I almost always give them the same assignment: on the way home, retell the stories of your first date, how you fell in love, what first attracted you to the other, what you love the most about each other, and what your dreams are of a future together. (See: Change Your Marriage Today)

This assignment serves the purpose of unearthing long-buried feelings and memories. Just by recounting the stories, a couple is more likely to feel love for their spouse.

With a little intention, our emotions can drastically change.

Here are 5 things we can do every day which will reconnect us with our spouse:

1. Pray about the specifics of your spouse’s day. Not only will this remind you of the work of God in your life, it will also require you to know the specifics of your spouse’s day and will make you wonder how their day turned out.

2. Always kiss goodbye and hello. This is a physical and emotional connection which serves as a reminder of the union between a husband and wife. Make it such a habit that even if you kiss, leave, and return, you kiss again.

3. Call, text, or email at least once a day to check-in. You can update one another on how the day is going. You can discuss any needs for the evening and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the schedule for the night.

4. Have at least 5 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. Whether it be first thing in the morning or the last thing at night, relationships demand conversation. Turn off the television, put down the phone, and talk. This might be more difficult with young children, but find a way to make it happen. Remember, if you were having an affair you find the time to engage in that affair no matter how busy you are, so make the time for your spouse.

5. Hug for at least 30 seconds. Before you leave for work or after you come home or as you go to bed, have an extended physical embrace which reminds your body, soul, and mind of your deep connection with this other person. Studies have shown that hugging reduces blood-pressure, but it also connects you with the person you hug. Physical touch must be more than just sex. By truly embracing every day, each partner will feel more valued and loved.

If your marriage requires anything, it requires intention. To the extent that both spouses are intentional about keeping the marriage healthy, the marriage will thrive. Apathy will slowly erode a marriage, but intention will cause it to continually grow.

93 Responses to The Number One Cause of Divorce
  1. […] not to find the one person created specifically for you. The great challenge is to pick someone and ... kevinathompson.com/happy-valentines-day-youre-not-my-soul-mate
  2. […] choosing a spouse. Choose the right one and the marriage is guaranteed to make it. (See: The Number ... kevinathompson.com/dangerous-assumption-gods-will
  3. […] choosing a spouse. Choose the right one and the marriage is guaranteed to make it. (See: The Numbe... holographicmemories.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/a-dangerous-assumption-about-gods-will-kevin-a-thompson
  4. […] It’s true as an individual, a family, or an organization. Without intentional effort, we will ... kevinathompson.com/husband
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  9. […] A healthy marriage is built on mutual respect. The old stereotype that women need love and men need... kevinathompson.com/five-ways-wife-respects-husband
  10. […] So began my interest in watching how the traditional exchange of wedding cake is played out. (See: ... pastorwells.com/how-to-predict-divorce-hint-it-involves-the-wedding-cake
  11. […] del Editor: Este artículo de Kevin A. Thompson apareció originalmente en su blog,kevinathompson.co... columnadeluz.net/la-causa-numero-1-de-divorcio-no-puede-ser-lo-que-usted-piensa
  12. […] So began my interest in watching how the traditional exchange of wedding cake is played out. (See: T... churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/175083-kevin-thompson-predict-divorce-hint-it-involved-the-wedding-cake.html
  13. […] Most marriages fail because a couple has not grown. (See: The Number One Cause for Divorce) […... kevinathompson.com/one-thing-determins-marital-success
  14. […] Thompson is the Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and he has a great e... journeyguy.com/nuff-said-1-12272015
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  24. […] 2. Reject apathy. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce) […]... kevinathompson.com/why-no-one-pities-president-bush
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