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Surprising Lifestyle Factors That Could Increase Your Risk for Divorce


Most people expect their walk down the aisle to lead to happily-ever-after, yet a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce. Because life’s journey comes with twists and turns, there’s no foolproof way to predict which marriages will last and which end in divorce court, but studies have shown certain lifestyle factors may increase the chances of a divorce in the future, including having similar or dissimilar health, education, values, and life goals.

Could identifying and understanding these factors increase the chances of choosing a forever life partner to walk with down the aisle?

lifestyle risks for divorce

Living Together Before Marriage May Increase Divorce Risks

Despite the now commonly held belief that it’s best to live together before getting married in order to ensure compatibility, a 2019 study shows the opposite to be true. Only 25% of couples in the study who waited until after marriage or at least until after engagement to live together ended up divorcing during the time frame of the study. 34% of those who cohabitated before engagement and marriage had divorced by the study’s conclusion.

Marrying Someone Without the Same Health Interest Level 

Opposites may attract, but studies show that marrying someone with a different attitude about health increases the chances of divorce. If one spouse chooses a healthy diet and frequent exercise while the other overeats and prefers to play video games during their downtime the discrepancy in their health and activity levels may cause a lack of companionship and shared interests, leading to divorce. Similarly, if one spouse is a vegan and the other loves a good steak, the vegan may find their spouse’s choices disheartening or inconsiderate. Though different health and nutrition preferences alone aren’t likely to cause a divorce, they may be a sign of dissimilar goals and priorities. In the event you are going through a divorce, contact our Fort Collins divorce lawyers to help you get through the process during hard times.

Having Children May Increase Marital Dissatisfaction

Surprisingly, having children seems to cause marital dissatisfaction as often as one spouse wanting children while the other does not. A study in the Journal of Family Psychology revealed as many as 67% of married couples report dissatisfaction with their marriage within 3 years of having a child, leading to an increased risk of divorce. This is likely due to stress, less time for reconnection, and financial struggles associated with one spouse working less or leaving the workforce. 

Marrying Outside of the Ideal Age Window

Studies indicate that today’s trend of delaying marriages until age 25-26 corresponds with a slight downward trend in divorce rates. Getting married as a teenager increases the risk of divorce by about 3 times compared to those who wait until age 20. However, those who marry at age 20 are 50% more likely to divorce than those who wait until age 25. Marriages that begin at ages 28-32 have the lowest divorce rate, while the percentage begins to creep up again for those who marry over the age of 32.

Those with Lower Education Levels Face Greater Divorce Risk

Over 50% of marriages between couples who didn’t graduate from high school end in divorce. There are many likely reasons for this, including:

  • A greater chance of financial troubles
  • Fewer communication skills
  • Less access to resources, such as therapy or couples counseling
  • People who prioritize their education while they’re young tend to be older, more mature, and more financially stable when they marry

Though none of the above lifestyle factors mean a marriage is doomed, avoiding these pitfalls could improve the odds of a happy, long-term marriage.

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