Did you know when marriages don’t work out, women are statistically more likely to file for divorce or end the relationship? Columnist Mona Chalabi stated, “A review of the literature on divorce that appeared in the journal American Law and Economics Review in 2000 found that 60 percent to 80 percent of divorces in the U.S. are filed by women.”
Those stats hold true even in the mid-1800s. So, what is it that compels more women to call it quits than men?
Women are more likely to do the bulk of housework and childcare in their family—and many still work full time on top of that.
Even though a lot of families are now two-income homes with both the father and mother working, women still tend to take on the majority of household duties. Arranging childcare and taking care of the needs of children after work largely fall on mothers. For stay-at-home moms, they obviously are almost solely responsible for cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, homework and bedtime routines and keeping the kids’ schedules.
When there is discordance in the relationship, women may feel that they have nothing to lose by leaving since they seemingly do most of the family-oriented work anyway, and sometimes also bring home a lot of the income.
Being a mother is a thankless job (though we do find it rewarding in its own way) and it’s not easy. Coupled with the endless amounts of dishes, laundry and other mounting chores that usually go unnoticed, it can be easy to become dissatisfied.
Additionally, women may not need to rely financially on their husband for support if they have an education or a great paying job. This is one less reason holding them to a marriage they’re not happy with.
In a divorce, women are more likely to maintain custody of the children
Research states, “Wives expect to get, and subsequently keep, custody of their children — if they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t file for divorce. (This is by far the most statistically significant explanation.)”
The special bond between mother and child is undeniable. Because of this and other factors, moms are not usually separated from their children. Dads end up paying child support and don’t see their children as often, which in some cases may not seem to make a difference depending on how involved the father was (or wasn’t) prior to the divorce.
This seems pretty glum for marriages, particularly for men. So, what can men do to stop this unfortunate trend?
Take an active role in the lives of your children. Be their dad. Attend sporting events, concerts and other important events in your child’s life.
It’s not babysitting when you’re watching your own kids. You helped create them, they’re yours. You need to be willing to give your wife an evening off and take care of all evening duties—dinner, homework, bath time and bedtime.
Yes, you may work all day, but that doesn’t mean you are incapable or exempt from helping out around the house. Take out the trash, help with dinner, clean up the dishes, make sure your clothes at least make it into the hamper. Your wife has been working hard all day, too. Help her out.
Encourage your wife to take the night off and go out with friends, take a bubble bath without interruption or just let her go read a book for an hour. Not only is housework and caring for children physically exhausting, but it also takes a toll mentally, emotionally and often spiritually.
Make sure your wife knows you appreciate what she does around the house and with the kids. Home is a pleasant place to be because of her efforts. Say thank you, give her a back rub without ulterior motives, take her out for a date night—make dinner for the kids and hire a babysitter beforehand.
Though it is more common for women to end a marriage, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are each supporting and appreciating each other, this can make a huge difference. You’re both on the same team, which means marriage takes teamwork. You can prevent divorce by nurturing your marriage and treating your spouse with love and respect.