The national divorce rate is about 40 percent, meaning that 40 percent of marriages end in divorce. However, this rate changes based on circumstances married couples face. For example, poverty, having been in previous failed marriages, having a low level of education, and a large age difference between spouses all increase the chances of divorce. However, one element seems to dictate a marriage’s failure rate more than anything else: illness. Marriages in which one spouse is chronically ill have a divorce rate of 75 percent.
A Major Determining Factor in Failed Marriages with Chronic Illness Is Resentment
Chronic illness within marriage is hard on both couples, not just the sick spouse. As a caretaker, one spouse is heavily leaned upon or feels an obligation to be leaned upon, by the sick spouse. They may be required to give up leisure activities, direct finances towards the illness, or spend extra time around someone who is not always in the happiest state of mind. Being a long-term caretaker often leads to depression, and spousal caretakers are more prone to depression than adult children caretakers of parents because of the intimacy between the caretaker and the sick party. As a subconscious response to this mounting depression, and the general inability to do the things they enjoy doing in life, the caretaker spouse often builds resentment towards their ill spouse. With time, enough resentment creates a loss of love, and the only option becomes divorce.
Couples Are More Likely to Get Divorced if the Wife Gets Sick Than the Husband
Oddly enough, married couples are more likely to get divorced if the husband gets sick, versus the wife getting sick, according to various research. Men typically have fewer close friends and family members than women, leaving them with fewer people to rely upon during difficult times. Men tend to rely only on their wives for emotional support, and when their wives get sick and they cannot provide the emotional support that their husbands are accustomed to, their husbands have nowhere to turn due to the poor support system they built for themselves. Additionally, men are more likely to divorce their wives when their wives get sick because of the following: