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How the stresses of common life events can signal the end of a marriage

There are countless studies that point to the damaging effects that stress can have on one's relationships and health. Even though most Americans would likely admit to wanting to lead less stressful lives, stress is often hard to avoid.

For married couples in the Chicago area daily rituals associated with commuting, working and parenting are often accompanied by stress, anxiety and frustration. Over time, even daily stressors can wear on an individual and negatively impact one's physical and mental health as well as relationships, including a marriage. In cases where a couple or spouse is impacted by a significant life change or event, the relationship between spouses may be adversely impacted.

Most Chicagoland residents have likely heard or uttered wedding vows that include the phrase "in sickness and in health." In reality, however, a spouse's illness or chronic health problems can negatively impact a marriage in many ways. A sick spouse is likely to undergo changes as he or she struggles to come to terms with an illness. Additionally, a spouse who is tasked with caretaking duties may have difficulty fulfilling this role. The findings of one recent Iowa State University study even revealed that a marriage is six percent more likely to end in divorce in cases where a wife becomes ill. 

Studies also indicate that married couples who welcome a child into their family are also statistically likely to experience marital turmoil and strife. Even in cases where a couple joyfully welcomes the birth of a child, parents often aren't fully prepared for the many challenges that accompany parenthood. Sleepless nights, lifestyle adjustments and lack of intimacy with a spouse are all things that can contribute to what is already a stressful adjustment period.

Even married couples who were able to successfully weather raising children together may experience problems when they approach middle age and must suddenly deal with being empty-nesters. Statistics show that "2013 marked the first time more adults 50 and older were divorced, rather than widowed." Sadly, after years of marriage, some parents who fail to take time to work on their marriage find they have nothing in common when their children are grown.

Source: ABC News, "Life Events That Can Lead to Divorce," Amanda MacMillan, March 28, 2015

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