Marriage – Improving the Odds

According to the National Marriage Project out of Rutgers University (2004), there are a number of factors that lend to a decrease in the likelihood of divorce during the first ten years of marriage.

Divorce likelihood…

  • Decreases by 30% with annual household income of $50,000 or more
  • Decreases by 24% if having a baby 7 months or more after marriage (versus earlier or before marriage)
  • Decreases by 24% when marrying at 25 years old or older
  • Decreases by 14% when parent’s marriage in tact
  • Decreases by 14% when adherent of a system of religious faith
  • Decreases by 13% when there is some college experience

Clearly, little of the above situation is surprising. We all know, if only anecdotal, that poverty, immaturity, bad social models and deficient character development threaten all levels of relationship. What is heartening is that much of what helps bolster the success of marriage is often reasonably attainable.

While we can’t choose the homes and parents to which we are born, we can invest into accessing opportunities to improve ourselves. This reinforces something that I share with all couples who avail themselves of our premarital counseling. The marriage union IS NOT about two people coming together to make each other whole. It IS about two WHOLE people coming together to make each other better!

The myth of the seven year itch not withstanding, the average divorce occurs at 9.8 years of marriage. Incidence of divorce significantly decrease at 15 years of marriage. Contrary to popular belief, people do seem to really try to keep their marriages together. Sometimes, we may lack the basic personal facility to make that happen. Knowledge really is power. Look closely at the factors that increase longevity.

You are right. Long marriages aren’t necessarily fulfilling marriages. But time can help season a relationship and allow it to mature into a lasting bond that rewards both spouses. Take community college courses together. When possible, allow yourselves some time together before starting a family. If it’s too late for that, ask family members and friends to help you one weekend a month so that you get quality time with one another. Join a local place of worship and grow your faith in God…together. These are fundamental and basic efforts that help couples grow together.

My wife and I just celebrated 15 years. I’m smiling. I just looked over to her. She’s smiling too!

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Author: Carnell Borden
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