There are a number of factors which prompt an unhappily married couple to get divorced, but it seems that, above all else, safety is the driving force behind most divorces. Many times, couples teeter on the brink of divorce, yet remain undecided on whether to separate. For some, when one of the spouses starts a pattern of abuse, however, couples finally have the impetus to divorce.

After one Atlanta woman discovered her husband passed out on the couch with a gun in his hand, she realized that she could not risk her and her family’s safety by remaining in her unhappy marriage. Sadly, her story is not uncommon and it sometimes takes a shocking event like that to push a husband and wife to pursue a divorce.

Safety within a marriage is not an issue exclusive to Atlanta, however. A recent study has revealed that 36 percent of men and women in the United States said they finally filed for divorce because of physical and/or verbal abuse. Safety and abuse played an even larger role in women than in men, with 48 percent of women citing it as a factor in their divorce.

Abuse is a broad term that encompasses anything from controlling and intimidating behavior to physical violence.

While physical and verbal abuse was the leading factor in prompting women to divorce, men were more likely to divorce for other reasons. Of the men polled in the study, 23 percent said financial issues were the key factors in their divorce while 22 percent cited sexual issues. For women, only 11 percent of divorces stemmed from sexual issues.

Couples may grapple with divorce because they are not sure if it is the right thing. Sometimes, they can be blinded to just how bad the relationship has gotten and require a dramatic incident to finally nudge them in that direction. No matter the reason, working closely with a divorce can minimize the stress and worry of a divorce, ensuring a smoother transition into a happy and healthful single life.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader, “What makes people decide to leave? Survey reports the reasons we divorce,” Michele Kimball, Sept. 22, 2011