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When The Stress Of A Sick Spouse Ends A Marriage

Divorce and spousal illnessWedding vows are easy to say when the day is beautiful and everything goes according to plan. When people make the statement “I promise, in sickness and in health,” they usually envision a common cold, in which their significant other looks miserable and needs some extra attention, tissues, and soup. However, the intention behind this statement is much deeper. What if something unimaginable happens to the person standing in front of you? Will you love them through the countless hospital visits, the emotional meltdowns, and the monumental medical bills? Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, the stress can become too much to handle, and many marriages end in divorce.

The Statistics

A 2015 study followed over 2,700 marriages for almost two full decades, making a note of every divorce, illness, and death. The study followed couples in which one of the partners was at least 51 years of age when the study began. A few of the results were as follows:

  • 32% of the marriages resulted in divorce,
  • 24% of the spouses became a widow or widower,
  • Divorce was more common for younger couples,
  • Divorce was 6% more likely if the wife was sick, and
  • There was no change in divorce rates if the husband was sick.

Possible Explanations

Many researchers believe the results of this study were due to the men being from an older generation in which boys were not educated to become caregivers like girls were. Women naturally tend to be more nurturing, and the expertise women have in this area may also cause them to expect more from their partners, only to find disappointment. Also, men often are not good multitaskers by nature. They can focus well on one task at a time, whereas women have the ability to juggle multiple tasks. If the wife becomes ill and unable to work, men must then learn to become the primary breadwinner, manage the household, preserve the finances, and act as a caregiver, all at the same time.

Life And Death Choices Make People Re-evaluate

Becoming chronically ill forces many individuals into depression. Unfortunately, between the illness and all of the added stressors that it brings, many spouses begin to analyze how good their marriage was before the diagnosis. If the partnership was mediocre or unstable, illness typically does not add anything positive to rekindle the fire that drew them together. However, a divorce may jeopardize health insurance benefits and the financial capabilities of the ailing spouse. Tough questions such as these are best presented to an Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney. Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC is available to assist you in your case. Call us today at 312-605-4041 to schedule your initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2980829/In-health-NOT-sickness-Couples-likely-divorce-wife-ill.html

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/07/21/sick.couples.o/index.html

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