Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Will This Marriage Last? – Introductory Post

From Ash:

That's what we're all wondering, right? When we once again hear, "50% of marriages end in divorce," we sneak a peak across the dining table and wonder if he'll still be there a few years from now. Or we wonder if the newlywed couple will still be married by the time they get their gift.

So over the next few days, we're going to take a look at some of the factors that contribute to marital stability – and those that seem to increase the likelihood of divorce.

There's an amazing amount of study on this: by the mid-1990s, scholars had already looked at over 200 possible factors of marital stability. Obviously, we're not going to go into them all. I mean I'd love to be able to tell you that the key to a terrific, life-long marriage is to marry a woman who looks like your mother. That is what a sociologist had determined in 1929, but I haven't found any more recent data on that, and I think it's sort of creepy, besides.

So we are going to look at some larger aspects of marriage, as well as a few that seem small, but have a surprising amount of influence in the couple's relationship. And we'll examine how things like cohabitation works out as a testing ground for marriage. I mean, living together to see how you are together seems like a reasonable way to find out how you would be as a married couple, but does it really work out that way in the long run?

In the coming days, we're going to tackle questions like (but not necessarily in this order):

Does living together before marriage work?
Do working women divorce more?
When do couples get divorced? Is there really a Seven-Year Itch, even if your next door neighbor doesn't look like Marilyn Monroe or Eva Longoria?
Do children make a couple stay together or split them up?
If I divorced once, is my next marriage doomed, too?
Is it really as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man? (That's what my grandmother always said.)
How do money and education impact a marriage?
How does my parents' divorce impact the likelihood that I'm going to divorce?
Am I too old to get married?
I know opposites attract, but do they split up, too?

Some of the answers will come as no surprise. But some assuredly will startle you, just as it did us. I mean, we were both struck over how the sex of your children affects your likelihood of divorcing. But that was nothing compared to how Po reacted when I told him about how grandparents play into all this.

Now, time for my requisite legal disclaimer. No, we are not saying that you are going to be divorced. And, conversely, we're not saying your marriage is the rock-solid, til death you part, one either. Every marriage is going to work out differently, and we wouldn't dare to guess how yours is doing. And God forbid we should try to recommend how to fix it.

Instead, we are going to look at influences on a general basis – the factors that seem to shape marriages as a whole, and across various demographic groups. And through these, perhaps you'll be better able to see both potential strengths and fault lines in your relationship, and understand how to better address them.

If you're frightened off marriage by all the doom-and-gloom reporting on divorce statistics that is out there – if you're someone who figures "Why bother if everyone just gets divorced anyway?" – perhaps some of this will give you a different perspective on it.

4 Comments:

Blogger Bustopher Jones said...

Since I am planning an August wedding, I am looking forward to your upcoming posts!

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A psychologist friend of mine who works on 'diadic coping' (couples who cope and the strategies they use) told me there is no evidence for the so-called 7-year itch. I further read materials which commented on crucial times being 18-months, 14-years and then 30-years after marriage. I am soon to complete 8 years of a marriage with no kids, so I guess I can comment on it. The long and short of it according to me (1) don't sweat the petty stuff, (2) trust your partner's intelligence and value system (it helps if you do not discover it AFTER you marry) and (3) do your best not as duty but as your heart tells you (if there is real love, you will find it in your heart to do the best for your spouse).

11:19 AM  
Blogger The Middle-Wing Wacko said...

Interesting post, I look forward to reading more on this. I've been looking at the same topic myself from a slightly different perspective. I'm putting a link at the end of this comment, if you'd like to check it out and comment I'd love to hear back.

Dean

http://middlewingwacko.blogspot.com/2006/06/modern-marriage-americas-social.html

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:20 AM  

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