Lower Your Odds for Divorce

Age, Sharing Chores, Siblings, and Money Can All Help Lower the Odds

Two dice showing one lying beside dice cup
Photo: D-BASE / Photodisc / Getty Images

New research reveals that you can lower your odds of being divorced.

Factors to Lower Your Odds of Divorce

Bronson and Merryman list factors that could help a couple lower their odds of divorce:
  • Being at least 25 years old. If you marry before the age of 25, you may have a lack of life experience and communication skills, low incomes, and are getting married for the wrong reasons. Waiting until you are at least 25 years old gives your brain a chance to reach the point of intellectual maturity, also known as the "age of reason."
    Learn more about the Age of Reason.
  • If you cohabit, you do so with an intention to marry. If you live together because it is convenient and an economical advantage, moving on to marriage may not be a good idea.
    Pros and cons of living together.
  • The bride has a good relationship with her father. Having a good relationship with your dad as you were growing up provides you with good communication skills and the knowledge that you are loved. Women who have problems with their fathers may make inappropriate choices in choosing a spouse.
  • The groom shows a willingness to share chores. If you both believe that household chores are a mutual responsibility, you are eliminating a major potential source of conflict in your marriage.
    The importance of sharing household chores.
  • You come from a large family. A study from Ohio State University revealed that the social skills learned by dealing with your brothers and sisters can help you have a stable marriage.
  • The couple's income together is at least $50,000 a year. Financial problems are the number one reason that couples divorce. When the two of you are stressed over coping with overdue bills, broken dreams, different spending and saving expectations, bill collectors, and fear that you could lose everything, arguments and misunderstandings increase, and your marriage ends up very low on your priority list.
    Financial questions for the two of you to talk about.
  • You are purchasing a home, considering purchasing a home, or saving towards the purchase of a home together. Although owning a home can limit the free time a couple has and may create additional financial stress on a couple, the purchase of a home is a sign of a commitment to stay together and to build your future together.
    Just think twice about remodeling a home.
  • You have attended or are planning on attending a premarital class. As more churches and communities require couples to have premarital education, new research is showing that these couples have less hurtful conflicts and a higher sense of marital satsifaction.
    Learn more about premarital education.

Will This Marriage Last?

"At the time of a couple's wedding, there are factors already present that can raise the odds of divorce to as high as 70%, or lower it to nearly 20%."

"The first thing to keep in mind is that the divorce rate has stabilized. An average couple now has a 57% chance of seeing their 15th wedding anniversary."

"... Couples who have attended premarital classes or counseling cut their odds of divorce by almost a third. We don't know if the classes actually change the couples, or if those couples are already realistic and savvy to the dangers (which is why they were smart enough to take the class). But premarital counseling might be the best wedding gift any newlyweds can receive."
Source: Will This Marriage Last?, Time.com, June 30, 2006

Why Couples Divorce

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman state that generally, while infidelity is a "frequent deal-breaker, rich or poor", the reasons couples divorce often reflect their financial situation.
  • Well-off Couples: Divorce over personality conflicts.
  • Poorer Couples: Divorce over alcoholism, physical abuse, and money problems.

From the posts on our Marriage Forums, a lot of couples, regardless of their financial status, are divorcing due to mis-matched sexual libidos.

If you are considering getting married or know a couple with thoughts of marriage, make sure you read this great article by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman at Time.com.

More Factors Determining Odds of Divorce

Three other major factors can help determine your odds for divorce include whether or not your parents divorced, your religious faiths, and if you have been previously married.

  • Divorced Parents. This can raise the odds of a divorce by 14%, but the type of conflict and divorce in the family is a major consideration in determining the percentage number. How your parents handled their divorce and parenting responsibilities had a large impact on your own emotional health. Children can emerge from a "good divorce" as emotionally healthy adults. Read more about the impact of divorce on children.
  • Religious Differences. According to Bronson and Merryman, what is important in a marriage is "how devoted they are to practicing their faith." If you are in an interfaith marriage, make sure that the religious issues and expectations are talked about and dealt with prior to getting married. Throughout your marriage, your interfaith issues will need to be re-examined as your lives change and especially, when you have children. Read about interfaith marriage stumbling blocks
  • Second Marriages. Even though a couple in a second marriage has issues with ex-spouses and stepchildren, Bronson and Merryman write that "a middle-class second marriage has only 3% more risk than a first marriage." If you are approaching marriage a second time, along with talking about your expectations, the two of you need to thoroughly discuss the three big issues: former spouses, children, and money. Remarriage Tips