As a man writing this article, there is going to be obvious bias. I have also been divorced as a result of a woman cheating on me. I was raised in a religious community with strict rules.
In my favor, I have 6 years of experience being a stay-at-home dad inside a conservative, male-based community.
My ex earned a Masters in Accounting and I earned a Masters in Clinical Social Work in St. Louis, Missouri. We lived in St. Louis for 15 years and then Virginia for 2 years. We then moved back to Utah where we both were raised
I lean towards scientific reasoning as a theoretical answer to many cultural issues. There are some good arguments on how social psychological theory can be applied. Take the belief of marriage for example. It has strong social psychological roots as a tradition. The tradition of marriage changing from a financial necessity to join family businesses to becoming a requirement of salvation in religious terms. Either of these examples has debatable reasons for marriage.
Woman vs. Man in Marriage and Divorce
My former marriage.
I would describe my former marriage as productive. We were both interested in different careers. Our careers created some problems evident toward the end of our marriage. There were misunderstandings of each other’s objectives and desires. We had begun marriage therapy when the therapist figured out I had been sexually abused around 5 years old; pre-verbal stage.
My ex, along with her motherly influence, wanted a divorce. Cheating on her part, and her ignorance of understanding my therapeutic challenges of being sexually abused pervaded. Two reasons and examples I share with you for the benefit of any couple having marital discord. I also add unchallenged religious beliefs which I add as part of the blame.
One of the most interesting scientific reasons has to do with hormonal differences existing between a man and a woman. You may have heard of Estrogen, higher in females, and Estrogen hormones in males. Estrogen hormones in women reacted to an increase in sexual interest and behavior necessary to have children. For men, a hormone called Testosterone is responsible for survival when needed. Hormones are basically responsible for preventing the extinction of mankind. 
Reverting to the social/psychological model of reasoning, for differences in marital quality and parental influence, we see some influence.
After the age of 18, children of intact families begin to observe and learn the behavior associated with their parents’ marital behaviors. .
If one or both spouses in a marriage is reflecting, both conscious and unconscious level, effects can be significant. For example, when a disagreement arose a spouse could automatically respond in kind as a result of memory. This would create a potential for a disability to resolve conflicts and create marital discord leading to divorce, a result of unconscious memory.
One more interesting reason for marital discord I would like to mention because it is unique and very true. The symptom is one or both spouses have not “cut the apron strings” with their parents.
It is significant particularly if marital discord presents itself and one of the spouses does the following:
- One spouse relies too heavily on the parents to help in decision-making, leading the other spouse to feel insignificant.
- One spouse looks to the parent, not the partner, to get his or her emotional needs met, leading the partner to feel ignored.
- One spouse reveals details of marital conflict with his or her parents, leading the other spouse to feel betrayed.
Each one of the examples above can and does happen. If an argument is shared, it automatically puts the other spouse at a significant disadvantage in resolving an issue, particularly if it happens on a regular basis. One behavior which is an obvious indicator early in the marriage is a daily call from a parent checking in on their “child”, who is obviously not seen as an adult. This is very dysfunctional. Believe me, when I say, this is serious and should be brought up if the couple decides to go to marital therapy. .
Couples are waiting to get married which is related to the economics of the U.S. Perhaps maturity and believing in having more education and higher paying jobs is the current resolve in decreasing the number of divorces. It also may not, as concluded, the number of marriages are decreasing. How long has economic security been related to the number in divorces in the Baby Boomers vs the Millennials is questionable since the numbers of marriages are decreasing.
The conclusion is marriage, divorce, men vs women is very complicated.
What is the most evident is there had been scientific, biological differences in men and women along with strong social/psychological aspects. These differences, when added to the economic history of the U.S. and age differences, a decrease in the number of marriages may not be significant. In my personal experience, all of the above had an effect on my marriage as a baby boomer. Studies should continue to be focused on historical political changes in the U.S and their effects on Millennials as it pertains to divorce.
1. WordPress. “Dating only American women gives you a distorted view of how women are really like.” Roosh. V.2013.https://www.rooshv.com/10-reasons-why-heterosexual-men-should-leave-america
2. University of Southern California. UCSF Team Uncovers Genes Influenced by Sex Hormones that Control Masculine and Feminine Behaviors in Mice”Male and Female Behavior Deconstructed”Bardi, 2012., https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/02/11440/male-and-female-behavior-deconstructed
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTS’ MARITAL QUALITY ON ADULT CHILDREN’S ATTITUDES TOWARD MARRIAGE AND ITS ALTERNATIVES: MAIN AND MODERATING EFFECTS”. Cunningham and Thorton, 2013., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3855026/
4. American Psycological Association. “Marriage & divorce”. https://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
5. Womens Health. “This Is The Average Age Of Marriage Right Now” Mechanzie 2018. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a19567270/average-age-of-marriage/
6. Bloomberg. “Millennials Are Causing the U.S. Divorce Rate to Plummet. They’re waiting until all is secure before tying the knot.” Steverson, 2018. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-25/millennials-are-causing-the-u-s-divorce-rate-to-plummet
7. Pew Research Center. “As U.S. marriage rate hovers at 50%, education gap in marital status widens” Parker and Stepler 2017. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/14/as-u-s-marriage-rate-hovers-at-50-education-gap-in-marital-status-widens/
Richard Cummings received his Masters of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. His specialized in Family Therapy, Grief and loss. He has practiced within the field for 20 years in various organizations within his community. He has written on a wide range of subjects which has included the sciences to social problems. He was a stay-at-home father and raised a son from birth to age 4. He was married for 25 years. He has since been divorced for over 10 years. Since his divorce, he has continually focused on being a father of 3 older sons. He has completed multiple triathlons’ and bicycling adventures.
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