“Grey Divorce” Rates Rising

It wasn’t easy for 59-year-old Margie White to ask her husband, Dick, for a divorce after 37 years of marriage.

“It really was the most courageous thing that I had to do,” she said.

The couple met in college and married young. They settled down in a rambling, split-level house in the leafy suburbs of northern Virginia and raised two sons, now grown. But they struggled over the years to communicate and connect, they say, and they slowly grew apart.

This story told by CNN reporters Greg Clary and Athena Jones, is one of many that I’ve read lately regarding the divorce rate among baby boomers. And it’s being called “Grey Divorce.” According to a study done by Bowling  Green State University divorce rates among couples over 50 have doubled in the past twenty years.  Another survey found that the divorce of couples over 60 had increased over 35%.  All this is happening among boomers while the divorce rate in other demographic groups has either stabilized or declined.

“We’re seeing divorces after 30, 40 years of marriage … and people who haven’t been there can’t imagine the devastation,” said Midlife Divorce Recovery’s founder, Suzy Brown, 65, of Kansas City.

Why?  Why do the words “until death do us part” have less meaning  than they held for my parents’ generation.  Various authors, articles and experts have suggested different reasons.

Some say because there is less stigma attached to divorce boomers are more inclined to leave their mates than in previous generations.  One expert suggested that many boomers are financially secure and able to weather the economics of divorce.  Another source indicated that longer life spans may be a significant factor.  In the book, The Gray Divorce Revolution the authors cite a survey saying that those in 2nd or 3rd marriage are 150% more likely to divorce in later years than those in a first marriage.  Or there have been societal changes in people’s view of marriage.  And of course, infidelity, is always a serious contributing factor to divorce.

While there are many factors, each one of the articles I read mentioned a common denominator–Communication.  One divorce attorney said, Lack of communication is cited as the number one reason why these marriages fall apart and therapists state that infidelity is often the catalyst for the divorce but point out that couples have often grown apart well beforehand. One woman told an interviewer, “We had nothing to talk about, and when we did, it was bickering.”

What is the solution?

We need to remember that at any age marriage takes work.  Maintenance.  Effort.  For any relationship to flourish it must be nourished and nurtured.  It is easy to get lazy. Sloppy.  And complacent in your marriage.

Some time ago I wrote a post on the Nine Keys to Better Communication.  Indeed it is the number one issue in our homes.  Without good communication love dies.

The number one emotional need of most women is affection.  Men too often think it is something else.  Guess again!  If you haven’t read it, see my post “When a Kiss is More than Just a Kiss.”

In fact, that post is still the all time leader in hits on ThePreachersWord!  It definitely resonated with a lot of people–I think especially the women!  Guys, you need to read it.

To avoid the “Grey Divorce” syndrom.  Stay committed to your spouse.  Invest in your relationship.  Don’t flirt with danger.  Spend time alone with each other sharing your thoughts, feelings and concerns. Enjoy a regular date night.  And work together to serve God and make Him the center of your relationship.

And one more thing.  Learn to have fun again!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Marriage

10 responses to ““Grey Divorce” Rates Rising

  1. Larry

    Ken: My wife and I have been married for 51 years. I guess we are way overdue in the divorce category. But we signed on “until death do you part.”
    Not going to change that now! Good (but sad) article.


  2. With so many saints irate over the ObamaCare decision, this bad news about boomer marriages crumbling could be far more significant in our country’s future. I suggest: get a young person’s attention and say this, “When your marriage is hit with a major problem some day, it’s not a reason for divorce but an opportunity to have the best marriage ever! Working through these big issues will strengthen the bond, build trust, and lead to other really fun things like, uh, I don’t know, maybe … 60 second kisses. 😉


  3. I read an series of articles on Focus on the Family that shed some light on this for me. Many women my age wonder why their husbands are not affectionate. It’s hard to get into sex if we don’t think our husband loves us. However, I realized after reading these articles what so many women miss. That men communicate emotion through sex, and that if women would take the time to initiate sex and show their husband they appreciate their need, that the husband is able to release his emotions and be more affectionate. This makes a lot of sense. It just takes women taking the leap of faith to trust that it is the key to their husband’s more intimate self.


  4. Jim Grushon

    Ken; I could not find the article when a Kiss is more than a kiss. Can you repost or send it to me. Thanks.


  5. Jim Stauffer

    While I agree communication is a major contributor to this problem, there is one overriding factor and it is pure selfishness. These people have had life at a very good and almost opulent rate. They become bored easily. Then the wandering mind can lead to all kinds of issues including infidelity. But behind it all is one is thinking of his own satisfaction.
    How about devoting your life to others as the Lord did. Find your happiness in something higher and nobler than the pleasures of the flesh.


  6. Your link for “When a kiss is more than just a kiss” comes up empty. Would love to read it.
    Thanks , Mary


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