Sixteen years ago, I agreed to date my husband during my senior year in high school. For two weeks. Because I refused to marry my first boyfriend. Well, that did not work out as planned because four years later we married and seven years after that we started having children.
One of the reasons our marriage has stayed strong, even during the peaks and valleys that naturally occur, is because we know that divorce is not the rosy promise of freedom and passion it is frequently made out to be. As we have seen played out with parents, relatives, and friends, greener pastures are typically filled with weeds.
It is always important to never take for granted how fragile a relationship can be. Regardless of length of marriage, age, children, financial security, etc. any relationship can be ended with a piece of paper. Below are some basic statistics:
- Marriages that end in divorce: 50%
- Average age for women to divorce: 38
- Median length of first marriage before divorce: 10 years
- Likelihood of divorce with children: 40%
- Likelihood of divorce without children: 66%
I have always enjoyed random demographic facts and statistics. I recall sitting with my five sisters when we were kids as we tried to figure out which three would get divorced and which three would have long lasting, happy marriages. To keep it simple, here is the breakdown of my family marriage statistic:
- Single sisters in their 20’s: 2
- Married sisters in their 30’s: 4
- Married sisters with children: 4
- Marriages longer than 10 years: 2
- Current divorce rate: 0%
While there is no guarantee of happy marriage, my sisters and I started out with a disadvantage. Daughters of divorced parents are two times more likely to divorce. Also, since my spouse also came from a divorced family, we are technically 3x more likely to divorce than the average couple.
That said, there is change in the air and I feel that Millennials as a group are going to change the dynamic of divorce for the following reasons:
- Millennials are taking longer to marry
- Even if they are not set financially, they are very financially savvy
- As a generation that is a product of divorce, they are more likely to understand the impact divorce would have on their children
Having personally lived through the mud slinging, side taking, court hearings, and general unpleasantness of divorce, I feel Millennials are uniquely poised to understand fully the consequences that result from the change in marital situation. This may be partially the reason Millennials limit homeownership and are getting married later in life, typically after a period of cohabitation.
As a modern millennial mom, I feel that we have the ability to buck the trend and change the way we view marriage. It no longer needs to be an unequal yoke. It can be an equal partnership with respect for the others unique role in the relationship. We need to stop taking people for granted and recognize their contributions instead of constantly pointing out their flaws. There are many factors that can improve or detract in a relationship. Meeting every financial, physical, and emotional need may not be possible. Recognize that truth and understand that your spouse, like you, is only human. We all make mistakes, trial and error is to be expected, and forgiveness in any relationship is the only way to move forward.
Sixteen years ago, my husband asked me to go out with him. Sixteen years later, I am so happy I said yes. Despite the fact that he is playing guitar next to me at 4 am making random comments about my blog using a Russian accent. Very confused, but I love this guy and he is stuck with me. Happy Anniversary Honey, looking forward to many, many more with you.