Every divorce is unique and often there is no single reason which leads a couple to decide to end their marriage. Financial problems, lack of commitment, excessive arguing, or unmet expectations are common issues often listed as reasons for divorce. However, some causes of marital strife may be far less obvious. Here are three strange and surprising issues that can increase the likelihood of divorce.
Who Drinks and Who Smokes
It’s no surprise that having things in common helps strengthen a marriage. Spouses who enjoy the same activities end up spending more time together. Conversely, not sharing habits with your spouse can lead to challenges. The activities on the top of that danger list are smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. Studies have shown that marriages in which only one spouse is a heavy drinker are 20% more likely to end in divorce than those where both spouses drink heavily. Clearly the couple who drinks together, stays together.
For smokers, the difference was even more drastic. Marriages in which only one spouse smoked were as much as 90% more likely to end in divorce. Apparently that smooth, rich flavor doesn’t help with marital discord. Or perhaps the smoking spouse has more opportunity to meet new people while spending all that time smoking outside. Regardless, staying married might be another good reason to give up smoking.
What You Do for a Living
Long hours at a stressful job seems like the perfect recipe for problems at home. Given the demands of certain professions, one would think that doctors, lawyers, or members of law enforcement would have the highest divorce rates. Instead it is dancers, choreographers, bartenders, and massage therapists who top the list of occupations with the highest divorce rate. Also surprising was that among all types of law enforcement, Fish and Game Wardens have the highest divorce rate. It would appear that all that time outdoors doesn’t foster a longing for home.
Social scientists have yet to determine the link between occupation and divorce. It could be that certain jobs simply attract personality types which are less likely to stay married. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, asking what your date does for a living would likely be a very smart first question.
Your Age Difference
Large differences in age between spouses is often listed as a contributing factor in divorce. It’s not surprising that spouses at different stages of their lives may feel they have conflicting goals. Interestingly, it doesn’t take a gap of decades for the risk of divorce to increase. Marriages in which the wife is as little as two years older than her husband have a 53% greater chance of divorce. That risk disappears if the age difference is only one year or if the man is 2-3 years older. Whatever the underlying cause, women may want to look for men who have had a few extra years on the planet to mature.
It turns out that “irreconcilable differences” aren’t just limited to extra-marital affairs and money woes—and some can even be predicted! Your vices, age and even your job can all point to marital discourse.