Fifty Percent of All Marriages?


Fifty Percent of All Marriages End in Divorce?   


Politicians, ministers, and social commentators are quick to say that “half of all marriages end in divorce.”  Such a statistic can be greatly discouraging to engaged couples.  I was once even told by a bride and groom that they did not want “till death do us part” in their wedding vows because there were only 50% odds of that even happening.  Do half of all marriages really end in divorce?


The answer to that question is an unequivocal “No!”  To put it more clearly: Fifty percent of American marriages are NOT ending in divorce.  This statistic is a myth.


When and where did this myth come from?


In the 1970’s the number of divorces increased for a number of reasons.  Many states enacted no-fault divorce laws, the advances of women in the work place gave them more options not to remain “trapped” in bad marriages for financial reasons, and a number of other reasons made divorce more common and also a more accepted feature of American life. 


The myth of half of all marriages ending in divorce seems to have originated in a misreading of the facts.  More specifically, if you looked at all the marriages and divorces within a single year, there are roughly twice as many marriages as divorces.  For example, in 1981 there were 2.4 million marriages and 1.2 million divorces.  To the untrained eye, that would seem to be a fifty percent divorce rate.  However, virtually none of those divorces were among the people who had married during that year; the statistic also fails to take into account the 54 million marriages which already existed, the majority of which will not end in divorce.


What is the true picture of the divorce rate in theUnited States today? 


Well, it is difficult to get an accurate statistic on this. 

The statistics and predictions about Americans in general don’t tell the whole story about the future. There are other factors that affect a person’s chances for a long marriage. One study  shows that age makes a difference. Couples marrying before age 20 face a higher risk for divorce. Marriages that have already lasted for a number of years are less likely to end in divorce. If a couples’ parents did not divorce, their chances are better than if they came from a broken home. Couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.

The bottom line is that marriage is still what it’s always been: a commitment between two people who choose to remain faithful to each other. And they don’t need to feel doomed because of scary statistics — least of all ones that are urban myths.

Engaged couples can continue to plan their wedding with confidence.  Spend time with your fiance spend a good bit of time getting to know him/her.

The key to a long lasting marriage is undying love, mutual respect, and common goals.  The main way to establish and nurture these things is: communicate, communicate, communicate.


Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM  Leave a Comment  
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