Why is the Divorce Rate Dropping
Let's talk about that 50% stat.
Welcome to The First Years of Marriage Newsletter! We talk about the conversations, challenges, and changes that begin once the honeymoon ends. Advice from experts, mistakes from me (Jen Glantz), and things you’re going to want to know as you continue to ask yourself this question - “I’m married, so now what?”
After I got engaged, someone told me I’d get divorced.
It wasn’t an ex-boyfriend or a family member who knew they had a slim chance of being invited to my wedding.
It was a complete stranger.
In New York City, strangers talk to you, and when they do talk to you, they tell it like it is.
I twisted my ring, smiled wide, and nodded my head.
“50% of marriages end,” the stranger began. “The odds, my dear, are against you.”
The Odds Are Against You. So?
It made me think of all the other things in my life I have done when the odds were not in my favor.
50% of new business fail by their fifth year. My business, Bridesmaid for Hire, is in year 7.
The odds of publishing a book are between 1-2%. I’ve published three books.
There’s a 1 in 365 chance someone can be born on April Fool’s Day. I was born on April Fool’s Day.
You get the point.
Perhaps the odds are constantly against us. But so what?
Does that mean we don’t throw our entire selves into something we care about?
I CARE about being married because I CARE about my partner, Adam.
Which means I do not care that the “odds are against me” when it comes to our marriage lasting forever.
The real truth is, we can’t think about forever.
We can’t think about the ending of any story (whether a marriage or a career) we have to think about right now and a few steps ahead of right now.
But when I was doing some research on the odds, I found out something thrilling.
The U.S. divorce rate fell from 9.7 new divorces per 1,000 women in 2009 to 7.6 in 2019.
That makes the divorce rate below 50%.
So why is the divorce rate dropping?
Here are three experts who explained why divorce rate is taking a turn down, down, down.
1. It’s common for couples to live together before marriage
“During this period of living together, individuals learn more about each other and eventually either break up or get married,” Alexandra Poolt, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in therapy and divorce-coaching services, says. “Most tend to break up, as there are fewer strings—financial and otherwise—that keep the relationship entrenched.”
2. People are investing in themselves more
Kryss Shane, a licensed master social worker and LGBT relationship expert, says people are spending more time getting to know themselves and building their own careers before getting married.
“Individuals become clearer in who they are and in what traits they want in a partner,” Shane says. “This results in stronger matches, which leads to fewer divorces.”
3. There’s not as much of a rush
“This results in people only marrying because they choose,” says Shane, not because outside forces of society are pressuring them to do so. “When this occurs, more time is spent learning one another before marrying," she continues, "to ensure a strong match with shared values and goals.”
4. There are options other than divorce
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a certified Imago relationship therapist, says that now people are more likely to try getting help before bailing on their unions.
“Marriage retreats and other intensive marriage programs are growing, so there is more impactful help available than your typical weekly hour-long session," says Slatkin, "which may not do much—even with a competent therapist.”
Who cares about the odds?
I have a degree in poetry. Math was never something I cared about.
In marriage, especially new marriage, why do we need to remind ourselves of this lingering fact that marriages, sometimes, don’t work out?
We know that.
Everyone knows that.
And by the way, sometimes a marriage IS NOT SUPPOSED TO WORK OUT.
That’s okay too.
Instead, let’s talk about why some marriages end early and why some last forever.
Let’s talk about conversations, challenges, and changes that WILL happen that nobody really ever talks about (which leaves people feeling like they are alone in their struggles).
Let’s talk about all that stuff and not just a statistic.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
Love you (for as long as we both shall live),
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