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Predictive Factors of Divorce - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

The stunning announcement that the Gores were ending their forty year old marriage raises new questions about the longevity of long term marriages.

We do know that the Gores, as with many couples of that generation, had several risks factors for divorce:

Higher Divorce Rate for Older Marriages: According to research, marriages which originated in the 1960s and 1970s have higher divorce rates. Couples who married in the 1970s have a 47% divorce rate after thirty years.

Young Age at Marriage: The age when you marry is highly significant. Couples who married in their late teens or early twenties in the 70s are especially at risk.

Decades to Go: The Gores are still relatively young, affluent and well connected. In their early sixties, there are many years to come and many boomers long for an emotional connection they may not have realized in their earlier marriage.

While older couples may be splitting more, overall the marital stability rates seem to be improving with each decade and with female education. Among female college graduates, the ten year divorce rate for those married in the 1990s is just 16%. The divorce rate for the same demographic from the 1970s is 23%.

In addition, the increased education, economic self sufficiency and empowerment of today’s young twentysomething females lead to delayed marriage.

The average age for first marriages is 26 for females and 28 for men. With more education, the ages bump up anywhere from two to four years.

Older people just seem to make better marital decisions. They know themselves better, have a clearer understanding of the spousal attributes they are seeking and have the ability to assess a relationship without financial factors being so central. They can really engineer a wonderful beginning to the marriage since they are more mature in their careers and behavior. The marriage enjoys a profound kick start with older twentysomethings and thirtysomethings who invest enormous time cultivating and deepening the marital regard in the early years. Such investments create a sturdy and resilient marriage that will last a lifetime for many of them.

Sources:

Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History

Tara Parker Pope, For Better, The Science of a Good Marriage.


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