Love isn’t enough for a marriage to succeed, say researchers from the Australian National University, who followed 2,500 couples for six years to learn which couples stayed together and which did not.
First, the factors which do NOT seem to impact a marriage’s success rate:
- How many children a couple has
- Whether or not the wife works
- The number of years the couple is employed
The factors that played a significant part in whether marriages lasted were:
- Second/third marriages—90% are likely to separate or divorce.
- Age—If a man is under 25 when he marries, or is nine or more years older than his wife, the marriage is twice as likely to fail as if the man is older than 25 or closer to his wife’s age.
- Blended families—Of those who marry with children from prior relationships, 20% end up divorced.
- Desire for children—If the woman’s desire for children is much stronger than a man’s, the marriage is unlikely to succeed.
- Parents’ relationships—Children of divorce had a 17% divorce rate, versus 10% divorce rate for those from intact families.
- Smoking—Having one smoker in a marriage increases the likelihood of divorce.
- Money—16% of self-reported poor couples in which the man was unemployed broke up, while 9% of those with comfortable bank accounts divorced.
If one or more of these factors is a concern for your marriage, don’t be pessimistic about your relationship. Instead, discuss it with your partner and seek tools or support for any areas of concern. But if you haven’t married yet, and your fiancé is a 22-year-old unemployed smoker, he has two children from a previous marriage, and he doesn’t want any more children (and you do), think long and hard about it.
What do you think about marriage statistics? Do you give them any credence or do you feel your relationship is unique and not impacted by outside trends?