Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society: if we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children and we strengthen the community. If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place as any to start
– Diane Sollee, Grand Rapids Family Summit, 1998
In part 1 of Save Your Marriage, I gave you 3 simple steps to stop your divorce and save your marriage. This week, I thought some statistics regarding marriage and divorce would give you insight into what happens in the reality of relationships.
Eye-opening marriage and divorce statistics
As a daughter to parents who are still married and a long-time partner to my beloved boyfriend, I was very surprised to read some of the statistics about marriage and divorce. Yes, I have many clients thinking of divorce, but when they come for coaching, they are in “solution mode”, which makes it easier for them to find their love again.
I believe the marriage situation has reached a level of social disaster.
- 82% of married couples reach their 5th anniversary
- 65% reach their 10th anniversary
- 52% reach their 15th anniversary
- 33% reach their 25th anniversary
- 20% reach their 35th anniversary, and
- only 5% reach their 50th anniversary.
Remarriage divorce rate is higher
Although divorced people may have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is higher than that of first marriages. Psychology Today stated that “a whopping 60% of remarriages fail. And they do so even more quickly; after an average of 10 years, 37% of remarriages have dissolved versus 30% of first marriages.”
Live-in (de facto) arrangement
Surprisingly, those who get into a live-in arrangement before marrying have a considerably higher chance of divorcing. Reasons are not that clear. This can probably be explained by the fact that the type of people who tend to live together without marriage may also be those who are less prepared to commit. There is proof that supports the notion that living together out of marriage generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, following the notion that living together is temporary, thus being an arrangement that can more easily be terminated.
Whereas in previous generations, living together was considered defiant and even outrageous, nowadays, many couples live together for a number of years and break up without considering this a divorce.
Divorce and interpersonal problems in kids
Qualitative studies and long term empirical studies have demonstrated that children of divorced couples develop interpersonal problems that become worse in adulthood, thus affecting their own chances of having a happy marriage.
Kids of divorced parents are more likely to divorce
As inferred from the previous statement, children of divorced couples have a much higher rate of divorce than children whose parents stayed together. The old saying that parents set the example is true also in this case. Children learn about commitment and permanence from parents. For children of divorced parents, these concepts have already been undermined or shaken.
The conclusion of a research published in American Sociological Review in 1992 was “Children who grow up in single-parent homes are less likely to marry, more likely to divorce, and more likely to have children outside of wedlock”.
Need proof? Read this list of research on the effects of divorce on kids.
The cost of divorce
To a couple, divorce costs about $18,000 and this would include lost work productivity, relocation costs and legal fees that vary immensely, depending on the nature of the divorce and the situation of the couple.
According to Money Magazine, divorce can mean the end of financial security, women being invariably harder hit, with a massive 43 percent average drop in income – from about $50,000 when first married to $28,900 one year after the split in Australia.
Single mothers must juggle work and parenting, with child support income covering some of the costs, but not the loss of work potential and income.
Having to pay higher costs for additional residence and the extra travel and phone calls involved in keeping in touch with the departing parent significantly increase the pressure on both parents and pushes more and more people to depend on government benefits.
The average divorce in America costs state and federal governments $30,000 in direct and indirect costs. Direct costs to the state include child support enforcement, Medicaid payments, temporary assistance to needy families fund (TANF), food stamps and public housing assistance. Those numbers increase every year.
US divorces cost the country $33 billion annually or $312.00 per household.
Something positive: marriage is like wine, getting better with age
No marriage is perfect. However, using a large sample for research purposes, researchers learned that 86 percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, but stayed in the marriage, indicated they were happier when interviewed five years later. In fact, 3/5 of those who were previously unhappy considered their marriages as either “very happy” or “quite happy” (National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, 2002).
So if you have difficulties in your marriage, go home (or maybe you are home already) and start working on your relationship to make sure you will not be part of this statistics.
If you have a good marriage, enjoy every minute of it and keep working on your relationship, to make sure you will not be part of the statistics.
In the next chapter of “Save Your Marriage”, I will talk about marriage as an institution.
Coming together is the beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
– Henry Ford
Happy marriage to you,
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage