Primary Causes for Divorce: A Christian Study

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What are the primary causes for divorce that most couples overlook?  What can we do to alleviate these causes?  To know the cause is to know what to do and to hopefully reduce the chances of a divorce occurring.  Here are some of the primary causes for divorce.

Top Reasons For Divorce

  • Some of the greatest reasons for divorce today are, in descending order:
  • Ongoing adultery/pornography (which is the same as adultery in the heart – Matt 5:28)
  • Lack of communication
  • Drug or alcohol addictions/abuse
  • Physical/emotional abuse
  • Sexual problems
  • Financial problems
  • Unfulfilled expectations
  • Differences in priorities
  • Differences in child-rearing
  • Religious or cultural differences
  • Boredom/falling out of love
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Controlling spouse
  • Mental health issues
  • In-laws interference
  • Jealousy, insecurity or lack of trust
  • Shift in priorities
  • Children leave home/empty nest
A Christian Study on Divorce

Marriage takes work, but it is a God-ordained institution that is worth fighting for.

Addressing The Causes

If you have problems in one or more of these areas, this does not mean that you are headed for divorce, but if you have several of these issues residing in your present marriage, it could be time for counseling.  Counseling with a Christian marriage counselor reduces the likelihood of a divorce.  Everyone changes with age but change is not always bad.  Change is unavoidable as we are changing every day.  I am not the same man that I was 10 years ago.  I will not be the same man next year that I am today.  What remains constant in me is that I make a concerted effort to love my wife in ways beyond just saying it.  Love is a verb. It is not so much what you say as what you do.

By acknowledging the causes of divorce as a real and present danger to your marriage, you can address these serious issues ahead of time.  One example is to determine in advance what actions you will take.  I love what Job said that I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin (Job 31:1)?  The scourge of pornography is wrecking many marriages because it is making men and women commit adultery in their heart, for Jesus said, But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [or man] lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:28). Not only does adultery occur in the sexual act, it starts in the heart, for as a person thinks in their heart, so they are in reality (Prov 23:7).

Pornography Is Adultery In The Heart

Pornography not only is committing adultery in the heart (Matt 5:28), it changes the brain’s chemistry in an almost incontrovertible way.  Shocking as it may seem, women are becoming more and more addicted to pornography and online is the place where this is happening.  Stunningly, the latest statistics are that 41% of women have looked at pornography within the last month.  The percentage of men is even worse.  Looking at pornography actually becomes as addictive as heroine and it changes a person’s brain chemistry in similar ways.  I believe to make a covenant with your eyes, as Job said (31:1), is to make a decision in advance to not even for a second look at anything that appears to be overly stimulating.  Sadly, that’s going to be about impossible to do in our present society because even on TV, the Internet, billboards, and on the magazine rack, pornographic photos abound.  The pictures might be legal but that doesn’t mean that they are moral.

Child Sexual Abuse And Pedophilia

Just like pornography, child sexual abuse and pedophilia is not just a problem for men anymore.  Increasing numbers of women are becoming involved.  Not only is it immoral, it is illegal and a criminal offense.  The false thinking these days is that some are genetically predisposed to child sexual abuse &/or pedophilia.  One prisoner told me that his counselor told him that he has a genetic defect and a specific gene that predisposes him to be a pedophilia.  This is just as false as the supposed gay gene.  Even if this were true, which scientifically it has never conclusively been proven, it is still wrong.  That is like giving a criminal an excuse for their criminal behavior.  What’s to say that some may be genetically predisposed to kill, rape, or torture?  Where does this thinking lead?  It leads to the person who committed the crime as being a victim of their own genes.  This makes them feel that they are not responsible for their behavior and enables them to never change.  It makes them give up trying since they believe that they are a victim of their own genetics…a helpless victim of their own biological makeup.  We live in a fallen world and as we are all the children of Adam, we are all disposed to be sinners, but it does not give us permission to do so.

Alcohol Or Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse, or both, has wrecked many marriages.  There are many wonderful recovery groups available.  Many of the most effective are free and faith-based recovery groups.  There is no reason to believe that once a person gets married, these problems will be solved.  In the vast majority of them, they only get worse.  Red flags are a lack of motivation to work, missing funds/money, unexpected rage or anger, outbursts when seemingly trivial things go wrong, lying, job loss, keeping oneself unkempt in appearance, loss of appetite, lost of interest in common things, withdrawal, and depression. These are warning signs that something serious is happening with that person. If you are married to someone who is displaying some or many of these symptoms, you desperately need to have your spouse seek counseling.  Alcohol or drug abuse almost never get better or their own or left untreated.  I have talked to former and present alcoholics and they do not change until they hit rock bottom…and they usually take their families with them.

For Biblical Help Check out these verses: 15 Bible Verses To Help With Addiction


Again, here are the top, but not all, of the reasons or causes for divorce.

  • Ongoing adultery/pornography
  • Lack of communication
  • Drug or alcohol addictions/abuse
  • Physical/emotional abuse
  • Sexual problems
  • Financial problems

I have not addressed all of these concerns but only the most serious.  You need to be a prayer warrior for your spouse.  You need to be praying daily for them and to be aware of the potential dangers to a marriage.  These dangers include pornography, lack of communication, substance abuse, and physical/emotional abuse. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy Christian marriages.  The family is the basic building block of nations and of society in general.  As the family goes, so goes society.  Put on the armor of God (Eph 6:10-18), pray for your mate, make a covenant with your eyes, avoid controlled substances (except where a doctor prescribes), sit down daily to talk with your mate and just sit and listen, and make a budget and stick to it.

The old axiom is true:  If you fail to plan, plan to fail.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  Marriage takes work, but it is a God-ordained institution that is worth fighting for.  I pray that this will make you think about just how precious your spouse is to God.  See them as Jesus sees them.  Look at them through His eyes.  He loves them more than you do.  I pray this will help alleviate many of the causes of divorce for your marriage.  By reducing the risk, you reduce the chances that you and your beloved spouse will divorce.  And if you have children, these are the most precious, innocent victims of all.  I also pray you make Christ the Chief Cornerstone of your marriage because Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Eccl 4:12).

Here are some other related articles for you to check out:


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