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Couples with sick wife more likely to divorce

Researchers at two leading universities have studied how illnesses affect the quality of a marriage. Information suggests yet another reason why some people are divorcing across the country, including in Massachusetts. A person’s illness may jeopardize a marriage. Studies indicate that if a spouse falls ill during a marriage, it can lead to divorce. It also appears that the rate of divorce is higher for married couples if the wife is sick.

The research focused on couples who were both healthy when they married. It then measured how a severe illness affected a particular marriage. There were 2,717 marriages tracked from 1992 to 2010. Of the 2,717 healthy couples, almost half of those tracked experienced a new illness within their marriage. When it was the wife who became sick, 15 percent of those couples were more likely to divorce.

Researchers discovered that the gender of the ill person played a significant role in a divorce. The findings suggest that the likelihood of a divorce is much higher if the wife is suffering from an illness. For the older generation, especially for the husbands, there is an obligation to maintain a more socially expected profile. It may be more challenging for a husband to care for his sick wife, which could be an important factor in interpreting the divorce rate numbers. Men typically have more options to remarry healthy wives, whereas women are less likely to remarry and may become a widow after their sick husband dies.

Illness was one of the many reasons for couples to divorce. Some couples felt that divorce was the best solution to end an unhappy marriage and to separate themselves from a situation that was too difficult to handle. Regardless of the underlying reasons for a marital dissolution, help is available in Massachusetts to guide couples through difficult divorce proceedings and assist them in moving forward with their lives.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Wives Who Fall Ill Are At Greater Risk For Divorce Than Men, New Study Says“, Taryn Hillin, May 1, 2014

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