Question Answer
0 View
Peringkat Artikel
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

What marriages are most likely to end in divorce?

How Successful Are the Marriages of People With Divorced Parents?

Marital instability can be inherited—but less often than it used to be.

May 30, 2019

Justin Lange did not grow up with many good examples of a stable, long-lasting partnership. After his parents’ divorce, his mom remarried twice more; his dad, three more times.

One lesson Lange took away from his upbringing, he told me, is that “actions speak louder than words—people were willing to [make] a lifetime commitment but not willing to back it up.” Until he joined the Navy and met the fellow sailor who would become his wife, he was reasonably sure he’d never get married or have kids.

But now, Lange is 37, married, and living in Nashville with his wife and their two children. He attributes his present happiness in part to going against the example his parents set. “I had already seen their shortcomings,” he said. “I realized earlier on in life that their mistakes don’t have to be mine.”

Lange seems to have avoided repeating his parents’ relationship history. But divorce, as a thorough body of research has demonstrated, often perpetuates itself across generations—“children of divorce,” as they’re called, are more likely to get divorced themselves than are people from “intact families.” A parental split, it turns out, can shape the next generation from childhood on.

Researchers have been aware of the connection between a parent’s divorce and a child’s divorce for nearly a century, says Nicholas Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah. Further, as Wolfinger found after he started studying the subject in the 1990s, people with divorced parents are disproportionately likely to marry other people with divorced parents—and couples in which both partners are children of divorce are more likely to get divorced than couples in which just one person is.

Wolfinger says that researchers have some ideas about why divorce would be heritable. One theory is that many children of divorce don’t learn important lessons about commitment. “All couples fight,” Wolfinger explains. “If your parents stay together, they fight and then you realize these things aren’t fatal to a marriage. If you’re from a divorced family, you don’t learn that message, and [after fights] it seems like things are untenable. And so you bounce.”

One other (albeit minor) factor is genetics. By way of explanation, Wolfinger talked through a hypothetical generation-spanning chain of assholery: “Some people are jerks, and there is some component of being a jerk that appears to be purely genetic. So: You’re a jerk, you get married, you have a kid, you don’t stay married—because you’re a dick—your kid inherits some of the genetic propensity to be a jerk. And so they get divorced.”

Though most studies have focused on divorce, some research has suggested that unmarried co-parents are more likely to break up if their parents also did. After a failed marriage or cohabiting relationship, fathers are likely to be less present in their kids’ lives than mothers are—according to census data, legal custody is granted to women in 83 percent of cases.

Linda Nielsen, a professor at Wake Forest University who studies father-daughter relationships, has found that the reduced presence of a father tends to harm girls’ educational prospects and physical health—as well as their marriages, which are more likely to end in divorce.

Nielsen says that fathers can help daughters build confidence in themselves, and that this confidence serves them well when selecting their partners. Girls who grow up “hungry for a better and deeper relationship with their fathers,” she says, often try to satiate that hunger “very quickly, with the first guys that come along.”

Very little research has been done on these issues as they pertain to lesbian daughters or same-sex parents, but other studies have found that sons are prone to conflict-heavy relationships in their teens when raised by a single mother (and children, of course, can have a hard time without a present mother as well).

Despite these challenges, the likelihood that children of divorce will go on to get a divorce themselves has diminished greatly over time. According to Wolfinger, in the early 1970s, married people with divorced parents were about twice as likely as married people from intact families to get a divorce; now, the former group is only about 1.2 times as likely to get a divorce as the latter group.

In a 1999 paper, Wolfinger theorized about why this might be happening. One possibility is that as divorce became more common, the stigma attached to it started to fall away. This would matter in the sense that the shame children of divorce were made to feel in earlier eras might have inhibited their peer and family relationships. This in turn could have deprived them of social skills in a way that might have increased their likelihood of getting divorced later in life. These days, children of divorce generally aren’t outcasts, and so they might be better equipped socially to break the cycle.

A second possibility is that the reasons people get divorced have evolved over time. As the idea of ending a marriage became less socially scandalous, the threshold for splitting up gradually became lower and lower—that is, many couples today are probably choosing to get divorced over issues that couples in previous generations might have just chosen to live with. So it’s likely that in the past, children of divorce had, as a group, been more consistently exposed to the sort of extreme dysfunction that could curse their future romantic endeavors; by comparison, later generations on average came from less troubled homes, which would work in their marriages’ favor.

Of course, many children of divorce aren’t interested in getting married at all. Justin Lange, for instance, felt that way as late as young adulthood. Interestingly, though, his siblings emerged from childhood with different marital ambitions. “I have three brothers,” he told me, “and [they have] three different outlooks.” One is currently married to his high-school sweetheart. Another married and then divorced. And the third has never married and, Lange thinks, probably never will.

The Lange brothers illustrate a central and sometimes confounding feature of research on family relationships: The way a given household’s dynamics will affect different family members is usually difficult to predict. “People respond in surprisingly diverse ways to a wide variety of life events and acute stressors,” explains a 2013 report called “The Trouble With Averages” from the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonpartisan research consortium.

The effects of parents’ divorces on their children’s beliefs about marriage are no different. Some of those children, later in life, don’t want anything to do with marriage. Others still pursue it eagerly, on the assumption that they can be wiser than their parents. And plenty of people fall somewhere in between.

Still, there are some patterns. Some studies have found children of divorce to be less enthusiastic about the idea of marriage as well as less hesitant to end one; others indicate that they can have more honest appraisals of what might go wrong in a romantic relationship, and thus can be especially attuned to the importance of selecting a partner.

Class might play a role, according to Sharon Sassler, a professor at Cornell University who studies people’s attitudes toward marriage. “In less advantaged communities, there may not be that many role models of successful marriages—which may lead to jaundiced views of relationships,” Sassler wrote to me in an email. “Middle-class respondents I’ve interviewed also suggest that … they have more role models out there of what successful marriages look like—if not their parents, then others in their social circle (friends, teachers, coworkers or bosses) who have stable families.”

Sassler also pointed out that parents’ post-divorce romantic lives send messages to kids as well. “What I’ve found in [my] research is that it’s not just whether parents get divorced—it’s whether or not they repartner, and how that works out.”

She added that people whose parents are still together don’t generally need firsthand experience with divorce in order to fear it, given how widely known it is that so many marriages today end in divorce. “In my perception,” she wrote, “the specter of divorce looms for all.”

Nicholas Wolfinger senses this too. He told me that when he goes to weddings, attendees often ask for his assessment of the newlyweds. “People figure out what I study. They’ll say, ‘What are their chances?,’” Wolfinger said. “In that case, I always cherry-pick all the research that supports a happy outcome.”

When I asked him whether there is anything children of divorce can do to improve their odds of having a successful marriage, he said his advice wouldn’t be different than it would be for any couple. He spoke highly of the conflict-resolution techniques recommended by relationship experts such as those at the Gottman Institute, which according to its website helps couples, among other things, “learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts.” “Start doing some of that,” Wolfinger suggested, referring to the Gottman method.

Brian Doss, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami who studies romantic relationships, says that couples therapy would probably help as well. Again, this remedy isn’t unique to children of divorce—research indicates that it’s “just as effective for people who had divorced parents as for those whose parents didn’t divorce,” Doss told me.

Justin Lange has his own take on how to sustain a marriage. “You may be upset about whatever mundane thing it is today, but is it going to matter later on? Just let it roll and focus on the important things,” he said. Also: “Write nice notes to each other with a dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror. It costs literally nothing and it makes a huge difference.”

Does The Age You Marry At Affect Your Chance Of Divorce?

Does The Age You Marry At Affect Your Chance Of Divorce?

Does your age, and the age of your partner, matter when you get married? As a matter of fact, research suggests that age can be a factor in predicting the likeliness of divorce. Of course, age isn’t the only factor that will determine whether or not your marriage is successful, but it may be more important than you realize.

Is Getting Married When You’re Older Better?

It’s a common assumption that getting married when you’re a little older equates to a better chance of avoiding divorce. This is supposedly because you’re wiser, more tolerant, and more accepting of another person’s flaws and imperfections.

The truth, however, is a bit more nuanced. According to a 2016 study published in Psychology Today, you’re 50% more likely to get divorced if you get married at 20 years old instead of at 25. While this statistic would seem to confirm the idea that waiting to get married is better, there is a turning point after age 32.

Studies have shown that there is a “Goldilocks” zone, between ages 28 and 32, where marriages have the highest chance of success. After 32, the likelihood of your marriage ending in divorce increases by approximately 5% per year.

Ready To Speak To An Attorney?

Why Does Divorce Become More Likely Later In Life?

There are several factors that contribute to the increased chances of divorce if you get married in your mid-30s or later. Statistically, at this stage of life you’re more likely to have:

  • ”Emotional baggage” from one or more serious relationships
  • Children from one or more partners
  • More complicated finances
  • A career that demands significant time and effort

While some or all of this may not be true for you (or your partner) when you decide to get married, these factors are frequent contributors to divorce when they are present in one or both spouse’s lives.

Be Aware, Not Intimidated

The best way to utilize all this information is as a reason to have clear and open communication with your partner before getting married. Don’t let the statistics intimidate you. What the statistics don’t say is that many couples that do end up divorcing, regardless of their age when they got married, never committed to clearly discussing and resolving common issues that every marriage encounters.

Money, children, family, and other concerns are pain points in every marriage, no matter how healthy the marriage is. Ignoring these issues is a fast track to divorce. Talking about them often leads to a stronger, happier marriage. So, whether you’re 25 or 65, talk to your partner about your concerns, your fears, and your expectations beforehand to give both of you the best chance of success going forward.

Recent Posts

  • A Quick Guide To Divorce Mediation
  • Divorce versus Separation: What’s The Difference?
  • What Is A Parenting Agreement?
  • Uncontested Divorce: Everything You Need To Know
  • Who Gets The Engagement & Wedding Rings In A Divorce?


  • Child Custody (24)
  • Child Support (19)
  • COVID-19 (11)
  • Divorce (83)
  • Domestic Violence (13)
  • Family Law (38)
  • Spousal Support (10)

The Divorce Rate Is Dropping. That May Not Actually Be Good News

H ave you heard that statistic that half of all marriages will end in divorce? It’s wrong. Even if that many marriages ever did disintegrate at one point, they don’t now. Divorce is on the decline and has been since the 1980s in America (when that 50% divorce statistic took hold). Experts now put your chances of uncoupling at about 39% in the U.S. This sounds like such promising news. Families are sticking together! But in practice, this does not mean more people are living happily ever after.

The drop in divorce statistics seems to be, in large part, due to the much-maligned Millennials making their marital vows stick far more often. One recent study says that, compared to their 2008 counterparts, young people in 2016 were 18% less likely to get divorced. That study has not been peer-reviewed but is echoed by the trend in the U.K., which keeps much more robust divorce data. Young Brits’ marriages are 27% more likely to make it through their first decade — the prime divorcing years — than those who got hitched in the ’80s.

So have millennials cracked the code on having and holding as long as they both shall live? Not exactly. One reason divorce is less common among that age group is that marriage — and all of its advantages, from survivor benefits for social security to healthier children to a lower chance of heart attack — is becoming more selective. Once considered a starting block for young people, a launchpad to get them underway as they took the plunge, getting married is now more of a high diving board, a platform for publicly demonstrating that they’ve achieved. The people getting all those marital advantages are those with the most advantages to begin with.

Census figures released on Nov. 14 show that the median age at first marriage in the U.S. is now nearly 30 for men and 28 for women, up from 27 and 25 in 2003. This does not mean that Millennials have stopped living with someone they fancy, though. Cohabiting is becoming a norm in most Westernized countries. In 2018, 15% of folks ages 25 to 34 lived with an unmarried partner, up from 12% a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 cohabit with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, those figures weren’t even close: 5% were cohabiting and 14% were married.

Young couples are delaying marriage not because they’re waiting to find The One, but so that they can feel financially secure. And as jobs for those who stopped their education at high school have become more tenuous, and as income inequality has pushed the have-lots and have-somes further apart, that security recedes further into the distance for a lot of young couples.

So people are living together and if it doesn’t work out, they’re splitting — what’s not to like, right? No alimony. No attorneys. Isn’t that why they’re living together in the first place?

Not exactly. There are two types of cohabitation. The type people do because they’re almost sure they’ve found a good match, but want one more run-through to check, and the type people do because it solves a looming liquidity, logistical or loneliness problem. Studies have shown that low-income couples tend to move in together sooner than college-educated ones. And those couples who move in together sooner are less likely to get married.

All of this would be nothing more than bad news for the wedding venue industry, except that often cohabitees whose togetherness is the result of happenstance rather than planning often become parents. A Brookings Institute analysis found that there’s a 50-50 chance that a child born to a cohabiting couple was not planned. And according to Pew Research, more than one of every two children born to cohabiting parents will endure a parental breakup by age 9, as opposed to only one-in-five born within a marriage. They’re also more likely to be poor: 16% of cohabiting parents are living below the poverty line, while just 8% of married parents are. And should they split up, things get more dire; 27% of solo parents live in poverty.

The other cohabitees, who move in together after dating for a long time as the last stop on the journey before conjoining their lives legally, rarely get pregnant before tying the knot. And they have about the same success with marriage as those who didn’t live together beforehand. This is especially the case if they are wealthy and have a degree. Divorce among college-educated couples who married before they had children is at levels as low as in the 1970s, before the wide adoption of the no-fault statutes made divorce much less of a legal nightmare.

So yes, the people who are getting married are increasingly staying married. But that group is an ever-smaller and more privileged group of individuals. Marriage is becoming one of the many institutions from which the poor, less-educated and disadvantaged are excluded. And this isn’t just sad because more than half of those who have never married would like to be. It’s sad because it compounds the difficulties of those who already face considerable challenges. Marriage, or the long-term committed relationship between two people that it’s meant to support, is both subject to and contributing to inequality. In its current form, it’s making the climb out of poverty just that much steeper. Which is not romantic at all.

More Must-Reads From TIME

  • Live Updates: King Charles III’s Coronation
  • Tina Brown: Why King Charles III Will Be Worth the Wait
  • The Coronation Is Brimming With Symbolism. This Iconographer Runs You Through It
  • King Charles’ Coronation Is a ‘Pointless Vanity Parade,’ Says Britain’s Leading Anti-Monarchist
  • How the Writers Strike Could Impact TV Shows That Are Still Filming
  • The Hidden Role Ordinary Iranians Have Played in the Protests
  • Private Security Guards Are Replacing Police Across America
  • Why It Took So Long to Finally Get an RSV Vaccine
  • Why Tucker Carlson’s ‘Office Mom’ Is Suing Fox News
  • I Tried to Cure My Burnout. Here’s What Happened

Contact us at

TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.

Ссылка на основную публикацию