A new study by researchers at Iowa State University found that divorce rates among couples were 6 percent higher when wives got sick, but were unchanged when husbands fell ill.
According to HealthDay News, the study covered two decades of statistics on 2,700 marriages.
Researchers found that 32 percent of the couples got divorced, but they (researchers) didn't know who filed for the split.
The study looked at four types of sickness - cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke - to see if the type of illness mattered, but the results were not radically different, noted PsychCentral.com.
The only main differences were that younger couples got divorced more often, and divorce happened with greater frequency when the wife was ill.
However, it's not clear if the wives didn't like how their husbands took care of them, or if the husbands didn't like being caretakers.
Study co-author Amelia Karrake, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, said in a press release:
There is a difference between feeling too sick to make dinner and needing someone to actually feed you. That's something that can really change the dynamics within a marriage.
Life or death experiences may cause people to re-evaluate what's important in their lives. It could be that women are saying, "You're doing a bad job of caring for me. I'm not happy with this," or "I wasn't happy with the relationship to begin with, and I'd rather be alone than be in a bad marriage."