New study: the majority (69%) of divorces are initiated by women

Is it OK to tell women they are wrong?
Is this “I’ll do what I want” attitude compatible with life-long married love?

This new report from Live Science gives us some numbers about who initiates divorces most frequently.

It says:

Women are more likely than men to initiate divorce in the United States, but they are no more likely than men to initiate breakups in a dating relationship, a new study finds.

“The breakups of nonmarital heterosexual relationships in the U.S. are quite gender-neutral and fairly egalitarian,” study author Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, said in a statement. “This was a surprise because the only prior research that had been done on who wanted the breakup was research on marital divorces.”

Previous research had found that women are more likely to initiate divorce, at least in the United States, Europe and Australia. In the new study, Rosenfeld compared divorces to nonmarital breakups, in an effort to understand the driving forces behind each type of breakup.

To investigate, he looked at data from the 2009 to 2015 waves of How Couples Meet and Stay Together, a nationally representative survey spearheaded by Rosenfeld and his colleagues. The new study includes 2,262 adults, ages 19 to 64, who reported having opposite-sex partners in 2009. By 2015, 371 of the participants had broken up or gotten divorced.

Women initiated 69 percent of the 92 divorces, Rosenfeld found. But there was no statistically significant difference between women and men when it came to nonmarital breakups, regardless of whether they were living together, he said.

The Ruth Institute reports on a few studies:

Female unions seem to have the highest divorce rates, followed by male unions, followed by opposite sex unions.

“For Sweden, the divorce risk for partnerships of men is 50% higher than the risk for heterosexual marriages, and that the divorce risk for female partnerships is nearly double that for men.”

“For Norway, divorce risks are 77% higher in lesbian partnerships than in those of gay men.”  (The Norwegian data did not include a comparison with opposite sex couples.)

In California, the data is collected a little differently. The study looks at couples who describe themselves as partners, whether same sex or opposite sex. The study asks the question, how likely is it that these couples live in the same household five years later. Male couples were only 30% as likely, while female couples were less that 25% as likely, as heterosexual married couples, to be residing in the same household for five years.

It really seems as if there is something about women in particular that causes them to be unable to keep to commitments in their actions, despite what they might say with their words.

So I am seeing a couple of problems in young, unmarried women that might explain this.

Feminism is bad

First, there is the feminism. Feminism was the driving force behind no-fault divorce. Today, young unmarried women are being taught to view marriage as stifling to their freedom. So if they do get married, they are often resolved that marriage should not affect their freedom in any way. That is just not the way marriage works, though – both spouses need to be equally ready to have their freedom infringed upon by things that HAVE TO GET DONE. Lots of things that have to get done will not be fun, thrilling or amusing – and that’s why it’s good to be prepared to do them before you marry.

My friend Dina says that she only knows one happily married couple from among her friends. The most frequent case she sees is wife is working in order to pay for big house, two cars, etc. and wife is denying husband sex, which makes him disengage from the marriage. A working wife tends to not be as responsive to the needs of husband and kids as a non-working wife, probably in part due to work stress. There is an epidemic of sex-withholding by women, and it causes men to disengage from marriage because they feel unloved. Although women tend to rebel against the idea that the man’s bad behavior is their fault, and that there is a “contractual” nature to marriage, that is how marriage works. You cannot stay married, women, by just doing whatever you feel like, and NOT doing whatever you DON’T feel like. Men will disengage when their needs are not supplied, and that’s no fault of theirs. It’s your fault. Denying relationship obligations causes men to underperform.

Feminism is often linked closely to “independence”. There is a lot of confusion over what the word independence means among young, unmarried women. A man uses that word to mean “lack of financial dependence on parents, the state, etc. because of good decisions in education, career and finances”. But a woman means “not having to care about the needs of a man and the leadership of a man, or the needs of children while still getting what I want from men and children”. That attitude is not compatible with life-long married love.

Emotions are bad

Second, emotions. In my experience, young, unmarried women are less likely to have reasoned out their own life plan in a practical step-by-step manner. Instead, they tend to do whatever makes them feel good moment-by-moment without any realistic plan. One Christian woman was recently telling me how attracted she was to an atheist moral relativist who had been promiscuous from the age of 15. She explained that her emotions were kindled by his GQ looks, 6-pack abs, mysterious European accent, seductive manner and witty conversations. Although she is apparently a Christian, she doesn’t take Christianity seriously in her decisions about relationships and marriage.

Peer-approval and culture play a large part in determining what women think is attractive in a man, as well as their life goals, and women are driven by these cultural standards more than men who focus on honoring their commitments regardless of their emotions. In my experience, women struggle to make their day-to-day actions match their socially-acceptable goal of getting married “some day”. Marriage is for “some day” for today’s busy women, but fun and thrills is for today. “Live in the moment”, they often tell me. If you try to talk to them about roles and responsibilities in a marriage, they will withdraw and rebel. But marriage is about each spouse doing his or her job, and feeling content about what the couple is building together. You can’t make life-long married love from emotional craziness and pursuing fun and thrills with seductive promiscuous moral relativist atheists.

How to pick a woman who won’t divorce you

Young men, I advise you to choose wives who have had to do things that they did not feel like doing. That can involve things like getting a STEM degree, getting a job in STEM, moving out of her parents’ house, getting a “boring” job that helps her pay off her debts, keeping commitments when she doesn’t feel like it, and caring for other people and even animals.

Basically, the more the woman has ground down any narcissism and hedonism she may have, by having to do nasty calculus and horrid lab work, the better. The more accustomed she is to constraints, responsibilities, expectations and obligations, the less likely it is that she’ll divorce you for unhappiness. And all of this goes for men, as well. STEM degree, STEM job, save money, serve others, give to charity.

Marriage is not the time for people to be carried away by their emotions. It’s an enterprise, and it works when both people are rational, practical, hard-working and self-controlled.

12 thoughts on “New study: the majority (69%) of divorces are initiated by women”

  1. That attitude is not compatible with life-long married love.

    You can’t be independent and a help mate. There’s no cake and eating it too.

    While I hate divorce and it’s basically legalized child abuse…these women are showing what’s in their hearts…while they may of had the desire to be married or pressured to get married…they never really wanted to accept the roles and responsibilities of marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You can’t make life-long married love from emotional craziness and pursuing fun and thrills with seductive promiscuous moral relativist atheists.

    It ruins the pair bond they have with your husband and makes it more likely that they’ll withhold sex from her husband because he doesn’t ‘thrill’ her like the other men…again you can’t have the cake and eat it too.

    The AF/BB theory most of the sphere talks about with young women when it comes to marriage I’d add to the list of things that are bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With Evangelicals in Québec, I’d say 8/10 divorces are initiated by women and in the GREAT majority of cases, there is no thought of thinking about if there is Biblical justification ot do so. It’s all about the lie women like to tell themselves that they have a right to be happy. Just don’t ask them where they got this “right”…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard Steven Crowder, who was raised in Montreal, say that Quebec is a disaster of immorality. He said almost no one is married. I blogged about some of the radical feminists there. It’s an awful place.


  4. Men do tend to be more literal, and as you said women are often emotionally based. As a result more men can take the vows as actual literal words.

    Women can change their mind about love and commitment forever and not feel they have lied, and use the words, well I meant it at the time

    That is a big difference if a person means what they say literally it is a different commitment than the female feeling based commitment that may change as stresses of life cause them to question things


    1. I think you’ve hit on something here, and this is important. When I read about what women think of marriage in books on marriage, the authors inevitably try to explain away the high rate of divorces initiated by women by saying that women have a higher expectation that the marriage (read – their husband) will fulfill their emotional needs. So, they don’t understand marriage to be a lifelong commitment at all. It’s primarily a vehicle for their own emotional fulfillment, and perhaps social respectability. And if that goes (because of circumstances) then they feel they should be able to get out and find someone else to marry.

      Now think of marriage vows, what do the partners say to each other? They say that a marital commitment is for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, etc. Women say these words but I have a suspicion that many don’t understand what they are saying at all. Perhaps they are just saying the words for spectacle or for social approval. The words of marriage vows are clearly opposed to their view that marriage is for their emotional fulfillment. Men accept the plain meaning of marriage vows, and don’t expect marriage to be a vehicle for their happiness. That’s why men initiate far fewer divorces.

      And I have an idea about why some women could speak marriage vows, while really meaning a private “my happiness” meaning inside. When speaking to Christian women, what I’ve found is that some have the idea of God as basically a pantheistic universe that exists solely to gratify their individual desires, so they will be happy. The picture of Jesus as a suffering servant (in the gospels) is confusing to them. Although they say Christian words, and attend church, they don’t actually understand what Christianity is about at all. For them, it’s just about having good feelings – that choices to be happy “in the moment” will somehow work out because the universe will adjust to make it work out. Regardless of moral rules or prudence, etc. I have read blog posts by women who were living with atheists who were praying to Jesus for success in their job interviews. Just think of that!


  5. , the authors inevitably try to explain away the high rate of divorces initiated by women by saying that women have a higher expectation that the marriage (read – their husband) will fulfill their emotional needs.

    Perhaps if they tried fulfilling their husband’s emotional needs, hers would get taken care of too. Marriage is about your spouse and children…not you.


  6. I was tracking until you all but said STEM is one of the fixes. I don’t think career field really has much impact. There are a lot of divorced women at my large, international STEM employer. In the cases where I know both the man and woman, every time she was the one who wanted to end the marriage and he wanted to try to work things out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Understood.

      STEM is hard, though, and it can’t be finessed just by regurgitating the teacher’s opinions. So to me it makes sense that it is a useful way to test whether a person is able to let reality influence their decision making. STEM (especially computer science and engineering) is about setting aside your feelings and executing the steps of a plan that will reach a goal in the real world. It’s not necessarily a divorce-stopper, but it might be a narcissism stopper.


      1. Women are initiating divorce because they not happy not because they can’t think rationally. Most women are emotional or I should say more emotional than men. Marrying women that are virgin or has low sex partners is ideal and not having sex before marriage and not cohabiting before marrying them.


  7. A person can study non stem too but they should learn to think as in stem.

    If for their electives they take some science and math classes it would help their thinking. But I doubt many of they would because they are harder classes. It is far easier to fill up on social sciences and other electives that have a much lower work load

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was a concern for me before I got married, but let me offer some ways forward.

    Random thoughts, not in any particular order.

    1. People (not just women) who come from broken families are more likely to divorce.

    Therefore, be more careful with such people — asking them questions around issues of marriage and divorce and so on. E.g., why did your parents get divorced, what do you think could have been done differently, what do you think of divorce, etc.

    2. What is your view of marriage e.g., is it a contract or is it a covenant and what does that mean?

    A contract is an agreement of legal obligations by mutual assent. However, there are a number of elements that are not enforceable by law — like values or goals. It’s legal to unilaterally decide to do something, ranging from changing jobs, careers, go to medical school, etc. — although it may be unwise for the marriage. Many people don’t understand that marriage is NOT a contract i.e., “if you scratch my back first, I’ll scratch yours.”

    Marriage is a covenant. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, so I’ll bring up the salient points:
    – covenant is overseen by God himself
    (i.e., if one breaks the covenant for any reason, one is answerable to God)

    Although much of Malachi is written in androcentric language, it is applicable to women. Let’s quote Malachi 2:13-16 (mostly ESV with some modifications):
    “You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant… So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who hates and divorces [his wife], says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.””

    Commentary on this passage: divorce = hate = covering oneself with violence = faithlessness. And you know what? God stops listening to the prayers of those who divorce. Wondering why divorced persons’ prayers seem like they’re bouncing off heaven? This is pretty strong language here.

    – at a wedding ceremony, each party involved is effectively saying “I am giving 100%”. That’s right: for a marriage to work, both people have to give 100%.

    Not just in the good times, but in the tough times. I had an older couple (married >50 years) that I befriended when I was single and they said to me that “it is in the tough times that you see your character, and whether you live up to your wedding vows.”

    Which brings me to:
    3. Are both parties a “Person of their word”? (e.g., Matthew 5:37)

    In other words, you give your word, you honor it — even when it hurts.

    Arguing from lesser to greater: if someone is willing to honor their word in lesser circumstances, they are probably worthy of honoring their word in greater circumstances.

    4. Are both parties able to give up independence, for happiness and interdependence?

    I found a Swiss doctor/psychiatrist, Paul Tournier, in the 1950’s who wrote extensively on this — that even back then, it was hard for many women to give up their independence and also to give self-sacrificially (and that this was training or preparation of marriage): “I have been able to see how far the spirit of independence can develop in unmarried women, through those who have confided in me what not being married has meant to them. I used to think that no man would want such a woman for a wife, so unready for the everyday sacrifices of married life. I thought that it was her spirit of independence that had kept her single… Now I see things differently. Independence is the price woman is ready to pay for the happiness of being married. If she doesn’t get her prize, she keeps her money. She hangs on to the independence that she would willingly have sacrificed for marriage and clutches it now as a consolation. Thus the greatest danger in celibacy lies in this aggravation of one’s natural selfishness and self-will.”

    Paraphrasing a couple more paragraphs: If marriage is one school of sacrifice where woman can re-discover life-in-fellowship, she can also learn it in another school – Christ’s. Surrender means serving each other; for instance, single-women not just to live in their own communities, but also for older and younger women. Then they can overcome their moral isolation (i.e., single women tend to experience a moral isolation).

    Liked by 1 person

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