What’s the biggest threat to your happy marriage? Well, that answer is bound to be different for any given individual and couple. However, it’s worth taking a look at risk factors that have been introduced recently, whether due to technology or changing societal factors. In the 2020s, there are many new or altered risk factors leading to divorce that prior generations would not have been dealing with. Here’s a collection of some of the top potential threats to know.
The smartphone in your hand that has become your link to the entire world is right at the top of the list. Studies have often shown that such technology interferes with relationships at least part of the time, and there are numerous elements to consider here.
To begin with, it’s often a distraction that gets in the way of direct one-on-one communication or quality time. If you’re always on your phone, you’re not fully present with the person you’re sharing that time and space with. At the same time, social media has made looking at another person’s photos a constant game of comparison and envy, impeding one’s happiness. Meanwhile, dating apps and pornography both available 24/7 from your phone have added new risk factors towards infidelity and sexual risk or unhappiness.
Another one of the biggest threats to happy marriages is going to continue to be opioid use and abuse. A poll from the American Psychiatric Association in 2018 showed that 45% of adults are impacted by opioid or prescription painkiller use in some fashion: 5% self-reporting they have abused or been addicted themselves, 9% saying they’ve taken them without a prescription, and 31% saying they know someone who is or has been addicted. With that kind of staggering prevalence, opioid addiction is going to be having a negative impact on potentially millions of marriages across the United States.
Finally, don’t disregard what you might call the changing values of generations and all of the socioeconomic factors that impact a person and a couple. Young people graduate college with the burden of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, equality in the workplace and elsewhere is increasing though not still perfect, people’s expectations for what they want in their life and when they want it have evolved, and people are more willing to pursue personal happiness and make major life changes even at older ages, as is the case with gray divorce. All of these issues impact whether or not a person is likely to get married, how happy he or she will be, and whether he or she is more likely to stick it out or seek divorce.
People are always going to get married, and some fraction of them are always going to get divorced as well. It’s worth keeping in mind the way society changes and evolves in terms of the potential factors that impact those decisions and end up becoming leading causes of divorce and threats to happy marriages.