Most people get married hoping to stay married for their entire lives. Unfortunately, divorce is real and it happens frequently.
It’s difficult to calculate exactly how many marriages end in divorce, but the rate remains high.
If you’re married or hoping to be married soon, here are some important things to know about divorce, and how to prevent it.
Negative Effects of Divorce
While some people are able to divorce amicably, there is usually a level of pain and suffering attached to divorce. The issues are compounded when children are involved.
Children often feel sad, stressed, or confused when parents get divorced. They sometimes wonder if they are possibly to blame for the divorce. The process can be very disorienting for a child and necessitates a lot of communication and support from the divorcing parents.
Divorce can also be financially difficult. This can be true for both men and women, but it tends to affect women more. Amelia Hill, writer for The Guardian explains, “Women [who divorce] suffer severe financial penalties. Regardless of whether she has children, the average woman’s income falls by more than a fifth and remains low for many years.”
Divorcees are prone to experiencing a myriad of personal issues like unhappiness, depression, and health problems.
People who divorce are likely to experience loneliness and may even distance themselves from friends and relatives. Being around other married couples can sometimes be a painful reminder of their own marital difficulties.
There are many people who are able to survive divorce and live happy and full lives, but the road is often long and painful.
Quick Statistics about the Likelihood of Divorce
In 2014, data analyst Randal Olson compiled some interesting statistics about marriage. Some are expected like those who are financially stable are more likely to stay married. Other stats, like those who have an expensive wedding are more likely to divorce, is a little more surprising.
Here is a list of quick facts about divorce:
- A more expensive diamond ring between 2,000 and 4,000 has a significant increase in the likelihood to divorce.
- Spending time together before getting married decreases the likelihood of divorce. Those who dated for three years were 39% less likely to divorce than those who dated for less than a year.
- Couples who make $125,000 a year or more are 51% less likely to divorce than those who make $25,000 or less annually.
- When it comes to religion, those who never go to church are less likely to divorce than people who go occasionally. However, those who go regularly are 46% less likely to divorce than those who never go.
- Men who say that their partner’s looks were a big factor in their decision to marry are 50% more likely to get divorced than those that said it wasn’t a factor.
- Women who cared about their partner’s wealth are 60% more likely to get divorced than those that said it wasn’t a factor.
- Those who have a big wedding are less likely to get divorced than those that get married without friends and family around. Those who have 200+ people at their wedding are 92% less likely to get divorced than those who were married as a couple alone.
- Expensive weddings are another thing that can increase the likelihood of divorce. Those who have a wedding that costs $20,000 or more are 46% more likely to get divorced than those that spent $1,000 or less.
- People who go on a honeymoon are 41% less likely to get divorced than those who don’t.
Generational Differences in Divorce
One interesting thing that researchers have been noticing lately is that the divorce rate is dropping.
Contrary to what you might expect, the reason is Millennials. In fact, if you were to look at divorce generationally, millennials are the least likely to get divorced, and Baby Boomers are the most likely.
The reason for this is not entirely clear, but researchers have their theories.
One reason is that millennials are less inclined to get married. Those that do get married are more likely to stay committed. The majority of Baby Boomers were married and at a young age. Something that researchers suggest plays a part in their likelihood to get divorced.
Interestingly, marriage has become an institution that is reserved for those who have the means to get married. Millennials are waiting to get married until they’re educated, financially stable, and older.
Ben Steverman at Bloomberg writes, “Many poorer and less educated Americans are opting not to get married at all. They’re living together, and often raising kids together, but deciding not to tie the knot. And studies have shown these cohabiting relationships are less stable than they used to be.”
So the statistics are a little skewed in this way. People are still living together in committed relationships, but choosing not to get married. These relationships may still be falling apart at a similar or higher rate, but they’re not included in statistics because the couples are choosing not to be married.
Still, the statistics are not entirely attributed to fewer marriages. Analysts do account for the decline in the marriage rate in their statistics. Steverman writes, “So, the divorce rate’s decline isn’t a reflection of a decline in marriages. Rather, it’s evidence that marriages today have a greater chance of lasting than marriages did ten years ago.”
Analysts will continue to study this trend for some time, but most agree that marriages tend to last longer when couples are older and financially comfortable. They also believe that most millennials who choose to get married are more committed to the idea. This may because it’s more culturally acceptable in today’s culture to stay unmarried than it was sixty years ago. Marriage is more of a choice, and in some cases, a luxury.
Leading Causes of Divorce
One way to avoid divorce is to understand what common reasons people get divorced. Below are ten common reasons for divorce.
- Lack of Commitment
- Getting Married Too Young
- Substance Abuse
- Constant Arguing or Bickering
- Communication Issues
- Weight Gain
- Intimacy Issues
- Domestic Abuse
How to Prevent Divorce
There’s no magic answer for how to prevent a divorce. The sad truth is that some couples will not be able to stay together. In some cases, such as physical or emotional abuse, this is for the best.
However, if you’re serious about wanting to maintain a strong relationship with your spouse, here are some tested ways that can help.
This may seem like an easy solution, but sadly infidelity is a common cause for divorce. According to the American Psychological Association, extra-marital affairs can account for 20 to 40% of divorces.
Most people don’t enter a marriage thinking that they won’t stay faithful to their spouse. Often unfaithfulness is the result of other problems in the marriage like lack of intimacy, lack of communication, or abuse.
A spouse may feel that they can find in another person something that they’re lacking in their marriage. That’s why it’s important that married couples are communicating their needs to their spouse, and not finding someone else to confide in.
Keep Communication Open
Marriage is at its strongest when couples are open with their feelings, intentions, and expectations.
When communication shuts down a marriage can’t thrive. Each partner may feel like they’re walking on eggshells around the other, or they may feel like they don’t really know their spouse.
When expectations are bottled up inside they tend to come out in unhealthy ways. Their feelings may explode or they may use passive-aggressive comments to show the other person how they feel.
To have a strong marriage, both partners need to communicate. They should also be able to feel comfortable expressing their feelings and desires. This means listening when your spouse has something on their mind and not being quick to dismiss their concerns.
Consider Each Other’s Feelings
People often say that marriage is 50-50 give and take. This isn’t entirely true. Marriage is often about counting the other person’s feelings and needs as more important than your own.
That doesn’t give your spouse license to abuse or take advantage of you, but spouses who think of the other person’s needs are less likely to focus on moments of inequality.
This is crucial because it’s impossible for spouses to equally divide everything. Even when partners give their best effort, there will be times when one spouse is going to do more for the other one.
There will be times when your spouse is sick, injured, emotional, overworked or any other number of things that make it difficult to match good deed for good deed.
Both partners should work hard to take care of the other, and not hold on to a list of grudges.
Take Time for Yourself
That being said, it’s vital that married couples have passions and hobbies of their own. It’s important to do things that you enjoy. Not everything can be about meeting your spouse’s needs.
Rob Pascale and Lou Primavera Ph.D. explain in Psychology Today, “Marriages also benefit when spouses have time for themselves, either to pursue their own interests or just to relax. Personal time allows us to maintain our individual identities, provides opportunities to do things we like to do, and lets us feel like we have some control over our lives. Alone time can actually help to keep a relationship fresh and less stressful.”
Take Divorce Off the Table
If you want to stay married, don’t let a divorce be an option. Many people go into a marriage hoping for the best but still keeping divorce as an option in the back of their mind.
Having a true commitment to your marriage will make is much stronger than entering it with one foot still out the door.
Marriage is Complex: Love Each Other
There isn’t one way to do marriage. Each couple has their own way of doing life together, and that’s okay! Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other people’s relationships.
Instead, do your best to build up your own marriage. Take time for each other, communicate, and enjoy each other’s company. Be open with your feelings and expectations, and give your spouse a safe space to share theirs.
Most of all, love each other. That’s the most sure-fire way to protect your marriage.