Ask any five random people "what causes a divorce?" and you may hear a few different answers, but most people will likely answer with either "money," "infidelity," or "sex." These factors are indeed thought to be the most common causes of divorce, but they're only precursors to the number one cause of splitting up. Yes, these things may be the catalyst that leads to the real cause, (or the stressor that brought it on), but I'd argue they aren't the sole or even primary cause.

The most common cause for a divorce is that one spouse decides that he or she would be happier without his / her spouse than with them. This is often called "falling out of love," but what it really means is a lack of intimacy, closeness, or connectedness. When this happens, the unhappy spouse believes that since he no longer feels the close bond that he once did, (and often can't imagine getting it back), he'd be better off ending the relationship. And since he/she no longer feels intimate, it's much harder for him to remember what he once loved about his spouse, nor can he generally come up with actions or a plan that could save the relationship.

Most people intuitively understand this, whether they know it or not. Often, when the still connected spouse wants to save the marriage, he or she will go to great lengths to "prove" to the divorcing spouse that the intimacy is still there and/or can be returned.

While this is true, often the methods used to get this point across will only drive the disconnected spouse further away. People panic when divorce is mentioned and often, without having the time to think calmly about it, will beg, cajole, threaten, negotiate, and play various games to change the divorcing spouse's mind. I did this initially and it truly got me nowhere. I had to work very hard to overcome the damage these actions caused. (You can read that story here.)

The problem with this tactic is that they paint you in a very unflattering light and your spouse often feels even more disconnected from you as a result. Your goal when you want to save your marriage is to demonstrate that you are the same kind, light-hearted, interesting, loving, and fun person that your spouse originally fell in love with. If you can show this person (rather than the desperate one who can understandably surface in his or her place) the chances are much more likely that intimacy can eventually return.

Of course, how you do this is vitally important. If your partner senses that this is fake or game playing, it will erode the relationship, intimacy, and trust even further. It's very important to work on yourself so that the person your spouse sees during this difficult and critical time is the one you want to present and the one that will give you the best chance to stop the divorce.

It is also important to accurately identify the issues that are harming the marriage and gradually address them (as your marriage is able to withstand the scrutiny and as your spouse is willing.) Don't try to tackle every issue at one time. For the fixes to "stick" and not feel painful, they need to be gradual.

It took me a long time to learn this lesson and I wasted a lot of time before I did, but I did save my marriage through research, learning new skills, and dumb luck. You can read about how I stopped my impending divorce (when I was the only one who wanted to) at my blog located at

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