What you are interested in knowing is not why divorce happens, but why it seems to happen after 8 years. Your concern is why number 8 is predominant and the years when most divorces have been observed to happen. There are many causes or reasons for divorce, but why then does it seem when people have settled in marriage it is when divorce happens?
From personal experience, my parents divorced after 8 years of marriage. The greatest cause of their divorce was an unbearable intrusion from family members. Marriage is between two people and a third party – whether a mother-in-law or an affair- only destroys this sacred union. That’s why there is a need for a man to leave his father’s house and cleave to his bride.
There is this radio station program that tries to unite broken marriages by bringing couples on board to reconcile them. The majority of them claim they divorced after 8 successful years of marriage. At, this point, this should get your attention, it’s a great concern.
The significance of eight years of marriage
Eight is a number that proceeds number 7. It’s well known that the number seven stands for completion and perfection. Meaning, the marriage has withstood all the challenges in its early stages, which I confess are the most challenging years for any young couple. Their marriage has been perfected after 7 good years of endurance and getting to know each other better. We expect at this point there will be greater bonding and little or no conflicts in the relationship since it’s being perfected.
However, it seems when people are about to settle down and enjoy the next episode of marriage, is when all hell breaks loose. It’s good to understand the significance of eight years of marriage and what it entails.
Related: Divorce is not a solution.
The following might be possible reasons for divorce after 8 years of marriage.
1. Lack of boundaries in the marriage.
Most often couples become too used (familiar) with each other to the extent they lose respect for each other. This has the effect of making couples lose the passion to pursue each other as before. You begin living like a brother and sister rather than a husband and wife. Both of you refrain from the things you used to do when love was young and vibrant. The wife begins to dress anyhow, and the man stops caring about physical fitness ending up overweight.
2. Unmet expectations/ unrealistic expectations.
Most of us walk into a marriage relationship expecting everything to fall in place in perfect harmony. The happy-ever-after concept is a fantasy. Couples need to be practical to save their marriage because it takes a whole lot of effort. In other words, happy ever after is not a destination, it calls for everyday effort to save a marriage.
You expect your spouse to be responsible, caring, and much more, but all of these seem to fade away in the long run. For this reason, marriage expectations should be adjusted to a more realistic level.
Have the same vision and goals, since having a different purpose in any marriage leads to division. Jesus made it clear, “a house cannot stand if there is division, a difference in goals, and vision.” Matthew 12:25 and Mark 3:25.
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25, NIV
People should not walk into marriage expecting it to be the ultimate fix for all their problems. Jesus Christ is. The concept of “till death do us part” is always a tall order and not realistic for all marriages.
3. Failure to handle challenges that arise with having children.
Children are a blessing to every marriage. Bringing up these children entails a great deal of patience, responsibilities, and challenges as well. The drift of too much attention to children may have the effect of reduced intimacy between the couple.
4. Low interest in sex due to commitments.
Sometimes couples can become so consumed with their routine responsibilities, work, pursuing a career, and even kids. These very things can deprive them of the quality time to enjoy intimacy and even sex. Consequently, one of the partners ends up feeling neglected and not cared for anymore. The feeling that they are no longer a priority. Couples should strike a compromise to meet their partner’s needs. They should also prioritize their spouse’s needs over their own. That’s what love is all about. Denying yourself for the sake of the other person.
Related: Should a man lust after his wife?
4. A communication breakdown.
Marriage can only thrive in an environment where communication is treasured. Partners need to communicate their feelings and needs to each other daily if possible. Both should learn to listen to each other effectively. Most often your spouse just wants you to simply listen to them, to hear out their heart’s desires.
The Bible encourages us to be good listeners and slow to anger. You can’t understand your spouse if you are always talking and never listening to their opinions and needs.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1: 19, NIV
6. A gradual change in character.
Life comes with many surprises due to its dynamic nature. This is also true for humans. People change, and that’s life. However, this can have devastating consequences for any marriage relationship. It all happens gradually. You begin noticing some aspects of your spouse you had never realized before. Including uncontrolled rage, addictions to porn, gambling, and other weird behavior. This happens especially if they are not intentionally working out their salvation. Anyone who works on their faith gradually conforms to the image of Christ and dies to their old nature. (Romans 8:28-30, Philippian 2:5). Failure to work on their behavioral change may lead to separation and even divorce.
7. Unbearable intrusion from family members from either side.
Once a couple is married, they form a new family distinct from their extended families from both sides. Family members should refrain from poking their noses in their affairs. I am not suggesting that family members are evil. However, there should be clear boundaries of their influence in the marriage relationship. It’s wise if the man physically relocates to a different location from his father’s house. This helps solve the conflict of in-laws. You do not want your marriage to end up where your sisters try to control your wife especially if you are not around. You need to defend and protect her.
Related: What to do after a breakup.
8. Prolonged financial challenges.
Finances are a source of contention in many marriages today, especially during this season of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed during this season how people have lost their sources of income. Businesses have been closed down and many have lost their jobs. It has been a terrifying reality for families and has led to great challenges between couples. Consequently, contributes to domestic violence, separation, and divorce.
Financial obligations increase during the eighth year of marriage. This is when the kids need to go to school, and the couple wants to advance in education. This puts a lot of financial strain on the couple which if not dealt with can lead to a series of problems that eventually leads to divorce.