Although some of us might dispute the idea, we all tend to have hobbies, routines or tics which we fall into as a matter of habit. The vast majority will be wholly innocent, representing nothing more than innocuous personal preferences.

There are others, though, which can be corrosive for our health and well-being and the relationships that we share with others.

It's perhaps no surprise that such behaviour can create tension within a marriage. What at first might seem endearing or a novel 'edge' has the potential to ramp up aggravation for even the most committed spouse over time.

I must confess to having been taken aback by the sheer frequency with which foibles feature among the factors cited among those for bringing marriages to an end.

After noticing an apparent increase in divorces granted on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour but featuring bad habits, my colleagues and I decided to analyse whether we were observing a mere coincidence of similar themes or a broader pattern.

Across the more than 300 or so divorces which we handle over the course of a year, just under 10 per cent involve conduct viewed as irritating by one spouse. Some behaviours, including addictions to gambling, pornography and shopping, have been made even easier by the ubiquity of and ease of access to the internet.

Others were less common, albeit not isolated; putting pets before partners, letting standards of dress and hygiene slip as husbands or wives settled into married life, or rowing about which television channels couples should watch all cropped up.

Naturally, those marriages in which habits affected trust and finances led to more combustible domestic arrangements, but even slow-burning, less dramatic behaviour can eventually take its toll.

Equally clear is the fact that habits rarely form the central stated complaint behind a divorce. I believe that's not only due to people wanting to avoid the kind of friction which can prevent a relatively amicable split but because individuals genuinely feel a sense of shame or stigma about what their partner has been up to.

As I have mentioned to media which has expressed interest in our findings, including the Daily Telegraph, the BBC and Sky News, there are things which you can do to mitigate the impact that a habit can have.

Good, honest communication can help couples come to terms with and possibly overcome their difficulties.

Not everyone has a dark secret - let alone one which emerges while dating - but if they do and someone decides to press on with marriage, at least they'll be settling into a home life together with both eyes open.

Ignoring a problem and hoping that it goes away of its own accord only amounts to storing up trouble for the future, causing animosity to build until the fabric of a marriage cannot hold together any longer. If it cannot, seeking professional help from counsellors (to try and salvage a partnership) or experienced family lawyers (if it can't be saved) can help limit the damage and provide the basis of a fresh start.