The 3 Most Common Reasons For Divorce — And How To Fix Them

Is your marriage headed for a divorce or can you save it?

Last updated on May 05, 2024

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Charlotte and Finn thought they were on the verge of a painful and expensive divorce. They came for couples counseling, seeking marriage advice because they had fallen out of love ... or so they thought. They spoke of having frequent arguments and complete emotional shut-downs. And to make matters worse, there had been no physical intimacy between them for longer than either wanted to admit. Charlotte broke down into tears describing the disconnection in their relationship. Finn quickly shut down, not knowing what to do or say, with a look of real fear on his face.


While their issues happen to be some of the most common reasons for divorce, this kind of "we think we've fallen out of love couple" is my favorite to work with. All that hurt, anger, and frustration are, in my opinion, indications that underneath it all, a couple may still be quite deeply in love. I've discovered that, with a little help, many couples can quickly harness their frustrated emotional needs and motivate themselves to quickly reconnect with each other. All they have to do is refocus the energy currently being spent on frustration directly into re-building profound emotional and physical intimacy, as well as into improving their communication skills and connection.


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Here are 3 of the most common reasons for divorce, and how to fix them:

1. Your spouse is more like your best friend than your lover.

This is an important sign that you may still be deeply in love with each other. Just ask any happy couple who's been together for decades what the secret to a lasting relationship is. They'll both tell you that it's all about seeing each other and treating each other as best friends. One of the biggest but easiest to fix relationship-harming assumptions most couples have is that being in love needs to always be passionate and intoxicating, like when they first started their relationship. But that's just the romantic or honeymoon phase in your lifelong healthy couplehood journey.

After the first few months to a year, it's normal for your honeymoon phase to fizzle out and for the "my best friend" phase to kick in. So, yes, your partner is your best friend. That's no need for a breakup. This means you still love each other, even if you need to make some changes in your relationship. With work, there will be romance more profound than you've ever experienced.


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2. You're having little to no intimacy

If you want to get the intimacy back in your marriage, you need to get the love back into your love life. It's that simple. That's what best friends in a healthy marriage do. Research shows that emotional intimacy is the key to physical fulfillment for women. Researchers behind the study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that "love made intimacy physically more pleasurable" for women, and that those "who loved their partners also said they felt less inhibited and more willing to explore their intimacy."

The majority of older women participating said that this connection between love and being intimate continued to be true throughout their lives. For the women I interviewed," said lead researcher Dr. Beth Montemurro, "they seemed to say you need love in intimacy and you need intimacy in marriage.” What's the message for the vast majority of couples having relationship problems? Fix your emotional connection and you'll fix your intimate connection.

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3. There's no real communication between you because you argue so much

Of course, you argue. Arguing is just the opposite of effective communication. Your underlying need for connection through properly expressed friendship is deeply frustrating right now, but if you didn't love each other so much, this might not affect you in the same way. When you learn to properly express and accept each other's emotional needs, the arguing and other negative relationship behaviors will fizzle out. So how do you get rid of those negative surface feelings and relationship behaviors that keep getting in the way of growing your friendship as a couple? You've probably heard it a million times, but it's time to take real action. It's time to learn how to communicate effectively. Start by making a solid mutual pact to save your relationship.

@kokobeaute This simple sentence can improve your entire relationship!#arguingwithboyfriend #stoparguments #datingadvice ♬ original sound - Koko Slunjski

Healthy couplehood is like a two-person dance pattern, with lifts and dips. One person can't save a relationship alone. You have to do this as a team. Next, you must turn your relationship into a "hurt-free zone." This is one of the most powerful strategies for preventing breakups and divorce. In your "hurt-free zone," toxic communication habits are simply not allowed to continue. Once you've set up your "hurt-free zone," saving your marriage by making it a contest of generosity becomes faster, and easier and will eventually kick into autopilot. Meeting your partner's needs and wishes gets easier and easier as they meet yours, and vice versa. It becomes a contagious and virtuous cycle.

Once Charlotte and Finn turned their marriage into a "hurt-free zone," their relationship stabilized fast. They could not believe how much things started to turn around for them in just days. And in a matter of weeks, they both became great armchair relationship counselors. That helped them save their marriage. This is an amazing way to learn and apply a few simple but powerful communication strategies. Charlotte and Finn have now been happily married best friends for years and they've built an amazing family together.


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David Akiva is a dating/divorce coach and speaker who has worked with hundreds of couples, families, and individuals to help them positively transform their most important relationships.