Top 10 Reasons Why Couples Divorce

kelly-sikkema-E8H76nY1v6Q-unsplashIf you asked 10 divorced people why their marriages ended, mostly likely they would admit it wasn’t just one thing. In my work as a premarital and marriage coach, couples often ask what are the most common issues that cause married couples to divorce. I agree it’s not one thing but a host of unresolved issues. Based on my informal research and experience, below is my Top 10 List of Reasons Why Couples Divorce in the order that they have expressed themselves in my practice.

  1. Fighting over money: how it should be spent or saved
  2. Waning desire for sexual intimacy or infidelity: widening gaps in expectations
  3. Loss of trust: broken promises, lack of dependability
  4. Being selfish: consistently putting personal needs above spouse and marriage
  5. Poor communication and conflict resolutions skills: inability to connect and manage through conflict
  6. Overstepping personal boundaries: physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse
  7. Active Addiction: drugs, gambling, alcohol, and gaming become the priority over everything else
  8. No shared interests or divergent future lifestyles: loss of marriage purpose and interest
  9. Making children a higher priority than spouse: children become center of the family structure even after they are adults
  10. Severe mental instability: unresolved childhood abuse, personality disorders, bi-polar, and depression in one or both partners

Some of these reasons can overlap and influence each other such as infidelity can lead to broken trust, but loss of trust can also be caused by consistently making promises and not carrying through, leading to the spouse feeling insecure in the marriage.

What can you take away from this Top 10 List? An opportunity to self-evaluate the strengthen of your marriage. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 the highest score, how well are you and your spouse managing these areas so your marriage doesn’t become a statistic?

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at

Trust: Do You Have It and How to Build It

marcos-mayer-8_NI1WTqCGY-unsplashDuring premarital/marriage coaching, I frequently discover that the topic a couple is arguing about is not the root issue that needs to be resolved. What they need to repair is the distrust that has either slowly crept or jumped into the relationship. Most couples identify violations of trust with the “big stuff” such as having an affair, drug addiction or alcohol problems, and hiding or secretly spending money. By all accounts, these behaviors are clearly violations of trust. However, what most couples may not realize is that the “small stuff” over time has the same ability to create distrust and insidiously undermine the relationship or marriage.

Without trust you can’t build anything of sustainable value. Trust is the foundation on which strong relationships are set and a critical element in any committed relationship. People can tell you whether they trust someone based on their feelings, but they may not necessarily be able to define the characteristics and behaviors that build trust.

Trust in a relationship is akin to the foundation of a house. You’re building a home. You know a solid foundation is important to stabilize the structure and allow it to withstand severe weather conditions. After the concrete is poured, you take the foundation for granted. You focus your attention to the other features of the home such as the number of bedrooms and baths as well as the size of the kitchen. You expend a great deal of effort designing the small details and decorating the interior. Your money and energy are overwhelmingly poured into creating a warm and comfortable home, while you fail to appreciate that the foundation is protecting it all.

Fast forward several years, and a crack forms in the foundation. Your house is not in jeopardy yet, but unchecked, the first crack gets bigger, more cracks appear, and some settling occurs. Now the house has cracks in the floor tiles, walls, and ceiling. The house is looking worn and possibly unsafe to live.

In many cases, people choose not to fix the underlying problem but patch it so it doesn’t appear so obvious. In extreme cases, you may decide to sell the house—get out and start over, building the same house all over again on a different property. The TRUTH—you need to deal with the foundation—TRUST.

Trust has many components, any one of which can undermine or strengthen the relationship.  Brown (2017) has deconstructed trust into 7 major components that must be practiced and reciprocated over time to build trust which are:

  • Boundaries: Communicating and honoring clear expectations
  • Reliability: Doing what you say you will do again and again [Note: It’s important to understand your limitations and not over-commit]
  • Accountability: Making a mistake, owning it, apologizing, and making amends
  • Confidence: Not sharing with others what is shared in confidence
  • Integrity: Practicing, and not just professing values, in which you may have to choose courage over your comfort or right over fun, fast, and easy
  • Non-judgment: Helping when another falters and being vulnerable to ask for help when needed [Note: One-sided help sets the giver up to feel superior over time]
  • Generosity: Believing in good intentions when the behavior is a mistake

Which ones do you live out regularly, and which components do you need to practice and reciprocate over time to build more trust?  I would encourage all couples to get honest with themselves on which trust factors they struggle with and to share this revelation with their partner. You can then develop a specific action plan to improve in that area to build more trust.

Trust is not a black-or-white issue but one which is measured on a continuum. Where does your relationship ride on that continuum? What are you willing to do to move it in a more positive direction? Improving trust takes time, patience, and thoughtful words and actions. You must trust the process that will take you from where you stand today to a more trustworthy relationship in the future.


Brown, B. (2017). Super Soul Sessions Video: The Anatomy of Trust. Retrieved from

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and premarital/marriage coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at