Yes, you read the title correctly. We have all heard that 50% of marriages end in divorce, so how can there be good news? It is good news because that is not the actual divorce rate, and never has been!
Many people have made the decision to never say “I do” because of the 50% myth, and those who do get married more often than not suffer from some anxiety and discouragement from this untrue belief. For too many years, confidence in marriage has been sabotaged by persistent and imperfect data. But in truth, the actual divorce rate has never gotten close to reaching the 50% mark, and most marriages are happy.
So how did this belief originate despite no credible evidence in its favor? An article in Truth or Fiction tells us that there are a couple of reasons:
The Increased Divorce Rate in the 70s
Demographers reveal that the number of divorces rose in the 70s, in part because of the new no-fault divorce laws. The focus on divorce increased as the rate climbed, and, when divorces peaked in 1979, several articles began spreading the claim that 50% of all marriages in the U.S. were ending in divorce.
A spokesperson for the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics told Truth or Fiction that the rumor began from a misunderstanding of the facts. At first glance, and without further investigation, it did appear as though there was a 50% divorce rate, because if you only looked at the marriages and divorces within a single year, there were twice as many divorces as marriages.
But almost none of those divorces were among people who married that year, and the statistic didn”t account for the marriages that already existed – 54 million of them, many of which would never find divorce to be a reality.
Divorce Projection Vs. Divorce Reality
Based on divorce records, those who tried to predict the future of divorce projected that 50% of young newlyweds would divorce. Linda Waite, a University of Chicago sociologist and researcher, told USA Today that the 50% divorce statistics were based not on fact, but on assumptions.
It is difficult to get a correct reading on the state of divorce in America because some states, including California, do not report divorces to the National Center for Health Statistics. There are several factors that can predict a person”s chances for a long marriage. Cohabiting couples are more likely to divorce, as are women who marry before 20 years of age. Couples who have been married for a number of years already are less likely to divorce, as are those whose parents never divorced.
The main predictor of a long marriage is a couple”s iron-willed commitment to stay married and to do everything in their power to study their spouse so as to be the best partner they can. This is and always has been what marriage is: A covenant between two people to remain faithful to one another – forever. The real enemy of marriage is discouragement, not statistics (especially mythical ones). Do not be afraid. Get married, stay married. You can do it.