While there may be one clear reason, such as an affair, why a marriage ends, a lot of divorces occur because of the buildup of behavior or resentment over time. There are certain actions and situations that marriage therapists use to identify struggling relationships and predict divorce.
PsychCentral discusses what therapists call the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are the four main divorce predictors. One of these is the feeling of contempt, which is any behavior, such as name calling, sarcasm or eye rolling, that attacks the other spouse’s self-worth. Another predictor is criticism, especially when a partner does it to imply the other one is wrong.
Defensiveness is a third predictor of divorce. Examples of this harmful behavior include whining, making excuses and cross complaining. The final predictor is stonewalling. This means emotionally or physically shutting down during conflict. A spouse may do this to calm down, but the other sees it as creating separation or a disconnect.
According to Elite Daily, there are some other factors that tend to lead to divorce more often than others. Some, like having an online relationship or accumulating too much debt, make sense, while others are a bit odd. For example, location of residency, specifically in a more conservative state, can predict a higher divorce rate. Couples who have a lower level of education are also more prone to divorce.
Studies show that people who commute long distances daily have higher divorce rates. Rates are also higher in couples who have a daughter. Arguments about an unfair splitting of household chores may also lead to divorce, because it builds up resentment.
While these are all predictors of divorce, they are not absolutes. Couples who can identify harmful behaviors and work on improving the relationship can get back on solid ground and have a good marriage.