NOTE: This is Myth 1 of 27 Myths about divorce that aren't likely to be true of people who love God and take their faith seriously. These messages make us worry if we're pleasing God. They contain little accusations that our motives aren't right. They make us second-guess ourselves when we try to get ourselves and our children to safety. Many of us have heard these messages all our lives and wanted to avoid them.  So although these myths may be true for people who are selfish or immature, they aren't true for a person who invested their heart and soul into the relationship, even when the other person didn't.  See all the myths on one page. See the next myth.

Myth 1: The majority of divorces are for falling out of love.   

TRUTH: No. Half of divorces are life-saving.

This myth says that most marriages fall apart because two people just fall out of love. This type of "Hollywood divorce," is not as common as we were told, according to research. In reality, a large number of divorces happen for life-saving reasons:

—chronic emotional or mental abuse
—physical or sexual abuse
—sexual immorality or infidelity
—criminal activity
—financial abuse
—spiritual abuse
—neglect or abandonment
Though some people divorce due to "boredom" or feeling "unfulfilled" or "missing the party life," many others give very serious reasons for divorce. In fact, nearly half of divorces are for very serious reasons: a pattern of infidelity, sexual immorality, domestic violence, emotional abuse, or drug/alcohol abuse. Here are four studies that show this.


Destructive marriages are more common than we thought.

We weren't alone. For decades family researchers have wondered the same thing. Why do people divorce?  They've done a lot of surveys of divorced men and women who reported anonymously.

Here are the four significant surveys.

Survey 1 - In this first survey, the participants had divorced over age 40. Of these, 50% of divorcees mentioned the most significant reason was one of the serious reasons: adultery, sexual immorality, domestic violence, chronic emotional abuse, or abandonment (neglect of duty). [1]

Survey 2 - In this survey of participants age 20- 55, about 42% of divorcees mentioned at least one of the reasons above as the issue that caused the divorce. [2]

Survey 3 - In this study, divorcees could select more than one major contributor to their divorce: 58% of divorcees mentioned infidelity; 30% mentioned domestic violence. (They did not offer drug/alcohol abuse as a choice.) [3]

Survey 4 - In this study, too, participants could select more than one factor in their divorce. Infidelity was a major contributor in 59.6% of divorces, substance abuse in 34.6%, and domestic violence in 23.5%. [4]


About half of divorces are for life-saving reasons.

What this shows is that somewhere between 42% and 59% of divorces are for serious problems. So about half of divorces.

For a long time, we in the church have tended to think about divorce, and about people who have gotten divorced, as though only five percent of those divorces happened for good reason. As you can see from these studies, that’s not true.

There is a lot of bad behavior that makes marriages miserable: unfaithfulness, physical or mental abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, refusing to support the family, or simply walking out the door and never returning.

When the desperate spouse says, “I can’t take any more suffering and betrayal,” we call it a “life-saving” divorce. And only that desperate spouse knows how much they can take. No one else has skin in the game, not the pastor, not their parents, not their friends or people at church.

Those who taught us that 95% of divorces are "frivolous" are simply wrong. 

Nearly half of divorces are life-saving divorces.


[1]  Xenia P. Montenegro, “The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond,” AARP the Magazine (May 2004), accessed 1/10/20,

[2]  Paul R. Amato and Denise Previti, “People’s Reasons for Divorcing,” Journal of Family Issues 24, no. 5 (July 2003): 602-626.

[3] C. Johnson, S. Stanley, and N. Glenn, et al., “Marriage in Oklahoma: 2001 Oklahoma Baseline Statewide Survey,” (2002): 15.

[4] Shelby B. Scott, Galena K. Rhoades, and Scott M. Stanley, et al., “Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship Education,” Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice 2, no. 2. (2003): 131-145.

Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support and clarity? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 4 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book on divorce for Christians and other people of faith, The Life-Saving Divorce: Paperback:  Or eBook:

Also, sign up for my email list below or HERE



Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? God Gave Divorce Due to Hardhearted Abusers & Betrayers


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?



Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






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