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Friday, August 16, 2013

80 Percent of Divorces Are Filed By Women

According to the National Center for Health Statistics 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Of the marriages that end in divorce, 80 percent of the divorces are initiated (filed) by women.

This is an interesting, albeit sad, statistic.

First of all, it is disheartening to think that 50 percent of marriages fail.

Second, it is illuminating that 80 percent of the divorces are filed by the wife.

Husbands, I believe this says something about the problems in marriage and where many of them stem from. I want to be very clear that I do NOT believe that all problems in marriage are caused by men. Both husband and wife bring their own set of issues and concerns and together they should work through them.

What I do believe this statistic demonstrates is that there are more women unsatisfied with their marriages, at least to the point of ending them, than there are men. There are certainly many reasons for the dissatisfaction that exists but I posit that the husband and his actions (or lack of actions) plays a significant role in causing and sustaining the dissatisfaction.

I've reflected on this. I've done some more reading and research on marriage and divorce rates. I've discussed this with my wife. I've prayed about it. I've talked to and observed couples who have been married for a long time. Why?

To help us husbands do a better job keeping our wives happy.

Here's what I've come up:

Photo courtesy of Vial Photography
  1. Tell your wife that you love her. Tell her often. Tell her why you love her. Never let her forget.
  2. Show your wife that you love her. Hold her hand. Kiss her on the cheek. Put your arm around her. Gaze at her lovingly. And don't be afraid to do these things in public as well as in private.
  3. Listen to your wife. She has important things to say. Counsel with her on issues that involve the family. She is an equal partner in your marriage and make sure that she feels that way. Ask her about her day and then pay attention (especially to the little things). This reminds her that you value her.
  4. Talk to your wife. Share with her your struggles, achievements, thoughts, and dreams. Share your opinions and beliefs (in a gentle and kind way; often men can be too forceful about their opinions and beliefs). What you think is who you are and she should know you better than anyone else.
  5. Physically acknowledge her (in a non-sexual way). When you walk by her gently squeeze her arm. Quickly run your hand across her back. Tuck her hair behind her ear. This shows her that you enjoy being near her and that she is important to you; that you're not just two people cohabitating.
  6. Anticipate her needs. What can you do to make her life a little bit easier? Maybe you could load the dishwasher? Wipe off the table? Fill up her car's gas tank? Make her lunch the night before?
  7. Remember that your wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. And make sure that she knows that you know it.
  8. Let her recharge her battery. We all have things that bring us down and wear us out and sometimes in order to overcome them we just have to get away. Let your wife have an evening off to spend with her friends or take a day off of work to go shopping or simply sleep (that's what my wife would love!). Let her get away from it all.
  9. Help her soar. Encourage her in her dreams and throw your full support behind her in her endeavors. Cami's adventures/endeavors over the last few years have included direct selling for Dove Chocolate Discoveries, starting her own Etsy chocolate shop, and writing a few children's books. To show her that I believe in her (and I sincerely do) I paid for her to take a series of courses from the Institute of Children's Literature, helped her make her chocolates for Etsy, and even let her host a few chocolate parties for Dove at our home. I believe in my wife. So do you. Let her know.
  10. Mind the small and simple. Cami loves Crunch bars. The other day I brought her one. A friend offered it to me at work and I saved it so that I could give it to Cami. Never underestimate the effect that one seemingly small act can have on your wife's happiness. In the candy bar example it wasn't the chocolate that made Cami so happy (although that helped) it was the fact that I know that Cami loves Crunch bars and I made the effort to not eat it and give it to her. That's what women are really after.
Keeping our wives happy can be daunting at times but if we remember that we love them and make sure that they hear it, see it, and know it we'll be successful. 

Good luck men!

Let me know what you would add to my list by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you!

UPDATE: This post has received significant attention over the last little while. As you will note from the comments that have been left there is a great misunderstanding about my 10 suggestions above. I am NOT saying that divorce is a man's fault. I am saying that husbands can try harder. That does NOT mean that wives cannot or should not try harder. Of course they should. We all should. Here is a post I wrote in response to a comment that hopefully better explains what I am saying, Happy Marriages Show Some Respect

This post continues to receive considerable attention. Recently I wrote another post elaborating on this topic. It is Divorce: Whose Fault Is It? Hopefully this further clarifies my position.


  1. I hate seeing those types of statistics. :( I can't ever imagine life without my husband.

  2. Ditto Blair. My husband and I made a pact when we got married that divorce would never, ever, EVER be an option. With the help of Jesus, and his love and forgiveness in our lives, we'll stick to that.

    That said, I greatly appreciate your list of suggestions for husbands above-- right on!

    (Maybe one for wives is in order as well? :) )

    1. Great suggestion Jaimie! I'll have to put that together.

    2. Really only one needed for the wives and you solve 80% of the problem. Wives, don't choose divorce!

  3. Chicken and egg. Perhaps the husband is not paying as much attention to his wife because she nags him, or takes a superior know-it-all tone?

    Think Kate Gosselin. She plays the poor, put-upon wife magnificently, while craftily finding subtle ways to undercut her husband at every turn.

    Men don't marry a woman so that they can disengage from her.

    When a man disengages it is usually because his wife is disrespecting him. By the way, putting on a lot of weight is a form of disrespect.

    1. Jack, I appreciate your honest thoughts. I actually wrote a response to your comment because I felt that it deserved its own post. You can read it here: Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

    2. Women complain all the time. No attention, we don't spend enough time together and so on. Simply get away from each other and divorce. Be free and happy. Marriage is 50% failure, 70% of married couples admit to cheating.

  4. It is better for a man to stay single!!!!!

    1. I agree. That is if he's going to treat his wife with less than the respect that she deserves.

    2. No, because it is not worth the financial and emotional risk of losing half your shit and access to your own children. The MGTOW movement is growing because women are pricing themselves out of the market. Articles like this are just further proof of women accepting no responsibility and always using the husband as the fall guy.

    3. According to the statistics you just listed, that means you think 80% of men are not treating women "with the respect they deserve", i.e., not making women happy enough in their marriage.

      This may come across as a shock; but social pressure already shows us that women are the ones who want to get married, and who put pressure on their significant others to get married. Women are the ones who rejoice and tell their female friends "Look at my ring! Eeee!". Men are the ones who say "another good man bit the dust today", in joking disapproval.

      This study shows one thing. Women are also the ones who want to end a marriage, once they are in one.

      The conclusion is clear. Men should stop marrying them, because we didn't want to in the first place and they obviously didn't want to either.

    4. That poster did not mean it as "if he's going to treat his wife with less than the respect that she deserves."

      I'm sorry, but there's no data showing that these 80% of men -- who, if social opinion and reactions to engagements are any indication, didn't want to get married as much as their female partner in the first place -- didn't treat their spouses with respect. If that's the conclusion that you drew from it, you're going to need to support it with actual data.

      All this shows, is that more women than men want to end their marriage. When you combine that with differing reactions to engagements in the wild("Look at the ring he got me, Eeeee! I'm so excited!" vs "Men. Grave news today. Another free and independent specimen bites the dust. No, no, just kidding, she seems wonderful."), one thing is clear.

      Marriage is not doing men any favors.

  5. One reason for the 80 percent is that the man stands to lose so much more, kids,house etc. The courts aren't kind to men in divorce. I think men sometimes feel it's better to stay in a stagnant marriage than lose everything.

    1. That's an interesting thought. You might be right in some cases. It would be fascinating to see a study of the reasons why people initiate a divorce.

    2. He's right in ALL cases. Plus the article simply ignores that women cheat as much as men do, so I am sure some of the divorces are just women going for a better (financial) deal. The attitude in your comments is very polly-anna.

    3. Women divorce, take the kids, make him pay money. Then she can get help from Uncle Sam. She can even get another man to contribute to her life. The divorced man ends up suicidal and drunk often.

  6. I appreciate the article. Let us consider incentives for seeking or avoiding divorce. Which gender generally faces higher probability of being reduced to indentured servitude (child support payments, alimony payments, etc) in divorce?

    A strong argument can be made that women aren't generally more "unsatisfied" with marriage than men, but rather the men face higher costs associated with divorce than do women. Thus men are more strongly incentivized to remain in an "unsatisfactory" marriage than women.

  7. When you put two imperfect people together in an imperfect world, one cannot expect a perfect marriage. I think all men should put your suggestions in their walet and read them every day. On the other hand women need to realize that their husband isnt perfect and she needs to respect him for that. Marriages go through dry stages, and from my experience commitment is the most important think. I suspect that most of those 80% that filed could have had that wonderful marriage if they would have rushed into the big lie that says that divorse will enrich their lives.

  8. Let me get this straight...

    You acknowledge that 80% of the divorces are filed by women, but then place the onus of change and action on husbands? In your words, "To help us husbands do a better job keeping our wives happy."

    Did it ever occur to you that happiness is a choice? You cannot MAKE someone happy. You are responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs... not your wife's. That is up to her. Men are no more likely to be happy in a marriage than women, but the statistics support that they are far more likely to choose to work through the unhappiness toward healing. You're presenting a tortured line of reasoning that suggests Christian women are entitled to pursue divorce based simply on unhappiness (which I believe is currently the trend), and men should have their wife as an idol in order to prevent it.

    Though I believe that you had good intentions in writing this article, it misses the mark and contributes to the real problem in Christian (and nonsecular) marriages. Women don't want to be women anymore, and men have become afraid to be men.

    For further reading...

    1. Someone ACTUALLY gets it! Bravo Brian, bravo. Hit the nail on the head.

  9. The author of this diatribe is obviously a classic example of the problem; too many American men are manginas.

    Did it ever occur to you that women divorce more because they are living the primary and foundational principle of feminism; freedom from responsibility?

    Maybe you didn't realize that women are favored in family court, make up 97% of those that get alimony, are not as committed and exemplify the modern attitude of throw it away and get another one ?

    Manginas like you encourage and enable these women with your self congratulatory attitude that makes you feel like you are being chivalrous and once again excusing bad behavior because you really do, in spite of your insincere disclaimer, think men are always at fault. Think you don't? Give some examples where you put it to the women as hard as you do men.

    American women see marriage as a business and themselves as the CEO, executives and shareholders and view their husbands as the blue collar worker who makes it go. Marriage revolves around her and HER kids, except when she has to pay for them, and the husband is the obviously disposable component.

    If women are so great in your eyes why is it that when men are ordered to pay child support to a woman fully 4% never pay but when a woman is ordered to pay child support to a man it is fully 46% that NEVER pay a dime. It's men's fault once again, isn't it ?

    Why has the average first marriage age of men gone from 25 to 35 in the last 10 years? That's 1 year every year for 10 years! Men's fault that they don't want to marry princess, self entitlement eekwalitee minded womyn isn't it?

    Terrorists want to kill Americans because they are women of both genders. Maybe look for your genitals or ask your wife to give them back.

  10. Yeah, So how does 80% of divorces initiated by women translate to it being the man's fault? Read CopsAre Scums comment. He is exactly right. I have noticed, in my experience, that women are taught most of what they know about men by other women which is the worst source for advice on men. The reason, just like men will never fully understand women and their emotions the same is true from the opposite end. So women grow up with this unrealistic view of what a man should be like rather than learning how men really are. Then they get married and all is well for a while but then the man that they married isn't living up to their unrealistic expectations of him so they want out. Guess what women of the Disney era, prince charming doesn't exist. If a man is willing to give you his life and half of all that he owns then you should not take that for granted like so many do. Example, my friend sold his motorcycle, his most prized possession, so he could afford the engagement ring he bought his ex-wife. She filed for divorce after 3 years. I know my friend and he treated his spouse with respect and gave her everything she ever wanted that was within his power to obtain. Like CopsAre Scum said, most women want absolutely NO responsibility in their lives! Take my cousin, for example, mother of two kids basically abandoned her oldest son by sending him to boarding school after the divorce because she found a new sugar daddy to take her on vacations and to expensive restaurants and things of that sort and she had no more time to raise kids. All the while her ex husband is left to pick up the slack. Now I'm not a sexist or a chauvinist, but this article is bull shit. The only reason you should divorce your husband is if he abuses you physically, verbally or both, cheated on you, molested your children, or had an illegitimate child that just showed up unexpectedly. This whole emotional neglect BS is just an excuse for women to get out of a lifetime commitment that they agreed to honor until they died.

    1. Men and women are both responsible for the relationship. But no one should stay in a relationship where they are the only one fighting for the relationship to work.

    2. Athena, what on Earth does "fighting for the relationship to work" mean?

      Neurotic control freak who wants the other to do as commanded, cajoled, nagged, or passive aggressively manipulated?

      Show me any stats that indicate women are anywhere near as responsible in a relationship as men? Try explaining why over 96% of alimony payers are men. But women have EQUAL responsibility, right?

      You obviously ignore the real problem, that over 80% of divorces are initiated by women. If it were men, would you be blaming women?

  11. Can you please post a link to the exact page on which you found the 80% statistic? I can't find it anywhere.

  12. The numbers I've seen are around 66-75% of divorces are initiated by women.

    Tell your wife that you love her.
    I told my ex-wife this every day.

    Show your wife that you love her:
    Tried to. When I'd try to sit with her on the sofa, she would just get up and move to the recliner.

    Listen to your wife / Talk to your wife:
    I'll address these two together. I suggested that we needed one hour a day that was just us, to talk, to connect, to be about one another. Never happened. Not because I didn't want it.
    Ladies, if your husband asks you how you are and you say "fine" when you are not fine, he's not the problem here. Your failure to honestly communicate your state is the issue. If it's not important enough for you to be honest about how you feel/are, then why expect him to figure out something that isn't worth your honest reply?

    Physically acknowledge her (in a non-sexual way):
    Not everyone is into that sort of thing, see above regarding sitting with her on the sofa.

    Anticipate her needs:
    Did many of those things. Made sure never never had to worry about lawn, car, or home maintenance. I was the one doing dishes, taking out the trash, making sure she had the newer car while I drove the old beater.

    Let her recharge her battery:
    Her shopping and "recharging" almost bankrupted us.

    Let her get away from it all:
    Apparently, she never really wanted to get away from it all until she had an affair. Before, she was afraid to drive in the city. Once the affair started, suddenly, she had the courage to get away from it all by taking the scary drive she couldn't be bothered to do when we were married.

    Mind the small and simple:
    Not sure what to say after all the above. Sometimes you do many / most of the right things and your wife still lacks the moral courage to remain faithful to her vows.

  13. Oh, and on the "most beautiful woman" thing. I did that until she said it wasn't true and that it made her uncomfortable.

    Sometimes, a husband just can't win.

  14. From this article I get; let your wife treat you like a cat toy, silently take all the abuse you can and then deal with the aftermath when she discards you. Give her everything, make her your her life, then when you're not getting any reward from your investment, and try to shield yourself from more disappointment because you've given up friends and hobbies and got nothing in return. She'll find a more exciting life and she knows there are no consequences for her to choose that life because the (ex) husband will still have to support her lifestyle. By the way I've been married twenty years, and my wife knows that if she screwed me over, I'd have no problem figuratively burning everything down around her and leave her in the ashes, even if meant jail time for me. We make decisions together, we support each other, we talk our problems out, like partners. not like "happy wife, happy life."

    1. I think it is wonderful that you and your wife are equals. That is exactly how it should be! I wonder about your willingness toward "burning everything down around her" should she leave you but if that works for your marriage who am I to question it. It's just not the approach I would take. I would also like to invite you to read this post,, where I think I do a better job explaining the message in this post. Regardless, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate it!

  15. Without a study for the reasons no meaningful conclusions can be drawn. It is just as wrong to say this means it is the fault of men as it is to say it means it is the fault of women.

    One could draw any conclusion really. While in some cases it may be that men are not upholding their end, there may be others where the women had unrealistic expectations of their husbands.

    It is far too common for us to blame men these days. I think it is part of our traditional ways of seeing women as a things that need protection. It is hard to both promote gender issues to help women, and not be irrationally protective out of old instinctual feelings of a need to protect women.

    1. I completely agree that it is too common that we blame men for failed marriages. Unfortunately that wasn't the message that many people are getting when they read this post. Here is a post I wrote better explaining what I meant to say in this post,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate it!

  16. Ok, I take care of the dishes, the laundry, the child care, while holding a full time job (with her) and have all the appropriate date nights, for nearly ten years, to a woman who cheated on me twice. Just because her new rich man was able to file divorce for her, with his attorneys that already work for him, makes it my fault for not showing I love her?

    1. Of course not. I apologize that the message you received from this post was that I am saying it is your fault. From what you have shared it most certainly does not sound like it was. Here's a post I wrote,, where I think I do a better job explaining the message in this post. I invite you to read it and let me know if I was more clear.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I appreciate it. And I am sorry to hear about your marriage. My sincerest condolences.

  17. Ok, you have written about what men need to do. Now how about writing what women need to do to make their marriages work. I bet THAT article never gets written.

    Putting the majority of responsibility on one party (the man in this case) does not work because it leaves the other (the woman in this case) to be free from responsibility and it puts her on a pedestal. That is THE worst place for a woman. Woman are not held responsible for their actions and choices many times and that is a big thing that is wrong with the man / woman problems today.

    The last two generations of parents have failed to mentor women in their responsibility in dating, behavior and choosing a man. So many women have a self entitlement attitude and believe the world owes them something. Women are not held to the same standards to which boys and men are held to be honorable and trustworthy. Women are not taught that the only things in life they are entitled to is what they EARN, and I am not talking about want they earn while on their knees or their backs.

    There needs to be a reversal of what females are taught regarding life, responsibility, honor. I believe women are just as smart in many things as men but the crux of the problem is responsibility.

    Thanks for an interesting article but I think it makes men too responsible and women not enough.

    1. Midnightrun108, Below I wrote this to the author on another article he wrote where he did the same thing again with not holding women accountable. I think so many men have a disease infecting them. They are brainwashed to always shield, coddle, protect and rescue women from their own choices/actions. I could write at length why I think they do this but suffice it to say that it is a big part of the problem, if not the biggest. Some white knights will just never climb down off their high horses regarding rescuing women.

      Tyson, I sincerely think there is one aspect that deserves far more consideration than any of the aspects of this topic that you have addressed. It is the institutionalized, justified, and encouraged attitude that women are NEVER responsible for their actions and choices. It is the elephant in the room that most people ignore, deny, convince themselves is just a mouse, etc.

      Freedom from responsibility is the foundation of modern feminism. Enabling this attitude by blaming men for women's choices is throwing gas on the fire.

      If you sincerely care about this issue there is a way for you to see the perspective that I am sharing. First, think of all the expectations and accountability, social and in law, aka "enforced", that men live with and perform voluntarily and involuntarily. Second, think of all the same for women. If you are exhaustive in your pursuit of these examples and honest about the differences you will see why women are not responsible for their actions/choices; because there is very little or no accountability at ALL. Men have expectations and unavoidable requirements and women have options and choices. This is by far and away the major cause of divorce and why 81% of them are initiated by women.

      BTW, I studied this issue in college in psychology in 1996. The textbook at that time stated it was 79% initiated by women. I have watched it increase and I have read the peer reviewed articles regarding it. Last I read it was 80.9%. It sure as heck isn't made up. Anecdotal, but relevant, examine divorces around you and you see this number or higher. I have asked many people this and they agree. I know of 29 divorces of friends and close associates and only 2 were initiated by men.

      Ask yourself this, if 81% of divorces were initiated by men would you be advising that women need to do more to please/satisfy their husbands? I doubt it. Women are incentivized to divorce men and at that point owning their own crap is not an option for them as they can't stomach it.

  18. To hell with marriage. To hell with women and their bull****. To hell with your attitude that lowers men to the status of groveling idiots who must kiss the feet of women. Wake up and reclaim your manhood, you simpering nincompoop!

  19. Many of the above posts fail to consider the author has only attempted to put forth some good marital advice, and uses a slightly amplified statistic to get your attention and posit the idea that your wife might not be as happy as you think she is in marriage. In this he did well. If you already do everything on his list well, kudos to you! If you're a misogynist who has already lost his wife, why are you posting here?

    1. Thank you! I appreciate that you understood what I wrote. Thank you, thank you!

    2. You sir, are a lost cause.

    3. RedneckSavant, you failed to address another possible scenario, husbands who treated their wives well, yet were still divorced against their will.

  20. "There are certainly many reasons for the dissatisfaction that exists but I posit that the husband and his actions (or lack of actions) plays a significant role in causing and sustaining the dissatisfaction."

    Actually, no; it's not often the faults of husbands. But that of the wife who does not understand the meaning of commitment. These days, we have come to accept fickleness from the wife. She can end her marriage for flimsy reasons, kick her husband out of the house, and get rewarded for her irresponsible actions (alimony, anyone?).
    When did the marriage say "I will stay married to you until you no longer make me happy?" And, how do you put the responsibility of someone's happiness on the shoulders of another? Imagine if the script were flipped: men divorce their wives because those women do not make them happy. Does that even make any sense?
    I posit that any woman that does not mean to keep her marital vows "in sickness and in health, for better for worse, for richer and for poorer" does NOT deserve to be married. It is about time men took a stand and stop accepting immature behaviors from adults.


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