"In sickness and in health" is often part of your marriage vows. Unfortunately, that promise is not always kept among couples in the United States. A recent study found that married couples are more likely to get divorced when the wife gets sick.
The researchers analyzed couples over the age of 50 between 1992 and 2010 to see how a major illness influenced marriages and the risk of divorce. They found that serious health issues like stroke, heart problems, cancer and lung disease increased the risk of divorce by six percent when the wife was diagnosed with one of these conditions. The risk of divorce did not increase when the husband suffered any of these illnesses.
The researchers did not identify a reason as to why the risk of divorce increases when the wife becomes ill. Another important factor to note is that the study did not identify which spouse initiated the divorce.
It is not surprising that a marriage would be more stressful after one spouse is diagnosed with a serious illness. As a spouse's role in the marriage changes, it is likely that the relationship would change as well.
The researchers said that the increased risk of divorce could be due to women feeling less satisfied in the relationship after being diagnosed with an illness or it could be due to men not feeling like they are able care for their ailing wives.
Regardless of the reasons for the increased risk of divorce, men and women should be aware of ways their marriage may change after one spouse is diagnosed with a serious illness.
If you are considering divorce for whatever reason, working with an experienced divorce attorney can make sure all factors are considered during the divorce process.