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Is Lack of Commitment Reason for Divorce?

National Survey on Marriage in America

I was reviewing the National Survey on Marriage in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative and, perhaps you’d be surprised, people in general have pretty good things to say about marriage, even if they, themselves, have been divorced.

If marriage is so great, then why do couples divorce?

“Lack of commitment” was the most-selected reason for divorce. This was followed by “too much conflict and arguing” and “infidelity.”

Let’s consider the main reason, “lack of commitment.”

In my experience, one of the primary contributors to this feeling of “lack of commitment” is that one spouse or the other or both begin to take the relationship and the other spouse for granted. The idea of you or your spouse being the most special person in the world is lost, or at least not put into practice anymore. This lack of attention or “lack of feeling special” is what I think creates the feeling of lack of commitment.

Is this a given for all marriages?

I have heard so many excuses and on occasions have used one or two myself:

  • my schedule is so full
  • I have to travel
  • the kids are all over me
  • I have to help the children with their homework
  • I have to finish this proposal, class notes, lesson plans, legal brief, etc.
  • the dishes are piled in the sink and the house is a mess
  • I don’t have time now because I have to leave for my second (or third) job

The excuses are not just about time because money and privacy also play a part. We don’t have money to:

  • go out on a date
  • to buy presents
  • to hire a maid
  • to eat at a restaurant

Excuses about privacy include: Her mother lives with us, our baby sleeps in our bed, his parents are spending a month in our tiny apartment and we don’t have any time or space to ourselves. Excuses are easy to produce. Every once in a while an excuse might be an authentic reason for not focusing on your spouse as special. Be careful, though, because once you have a history of repeated excuses, the message can easily turn to lack of commitment.

Use your thinking time to find solutions.

Even if you were in a tiny apartment packed with family and kids and you have very limited financial resources, you could greet your spouse outside the front door with a smile and a loving comment and something you think would be appreciated such as a cup of coffee or tea or juice or wine. Forewarn your spouse about the potential chaos inside and literally take a slow breath together, ready to enter as a team.

The person coming home could think warm thoughts about the spouse and be ready with a smile and a compliment and a loving comment.

If the couple could not afford small presents, the person arriving home could still share a cell-phone photo of flowers or something else that was particularly beautiful, humorous, or interesting.

We all want to be special in the eyes of our spouses. You and your spouse are lifetime historians for each other. Think positive thoughts and be positive in your actions and find continuing ways to show your spouse how very special you think he or she is. Here are some suggestions on how to make your spouse special by practice saying thanks.

All my best wishes for feeling special in your relationship,