Untying the Knot
In 2012, 2.4 million people got divorced in the U.S. That’s 1.2 million couples that started out with high expectations, only to have everything fall apart; that’s also approximately 1.5 million children left with a broken home. So what’s happening and can anything be done to keep the love?
40%-50% of today’s marriages end in divorce.
Approximately 10% of first marriages that end in divorce within the first 5 years
The median time together when most couples divorce (3)
So the “seven-year itch” is kinda true?
Austrian philosopher/teacher Rudolf Steiner believed in this phenomenon, citing an astrology-based theory that human experiences change physically and mentally every seven years.
Also after seven years…
- Many couples have navigated the trying infant years to realize they don’t want to be together anymore
- Couples can experience a loss in excitement
- Once tolerable habits are now annoying
The Kid Factor
Couples are 4½ times more likely to split up after the three-year mark when they have young children rather than the seven-year mark.
- Juggling careers with parenting in addition to changing gender roles has proved tough on relationships.
- Couples have less time together before starting a family.
“Perhaps some women hear the biological clock ticking and start looking for a father rather than a boyfriend.” English parenting website (netmums.com) founder Siobhan Freegard, addressing the issue of women having children at an older age, but earlier in relationships, leading to a higher split-up rate
Children of divorce are at a greater risk of:
- Academic problems
- Depression and aggressive behavior during childhood and adolescence
- Drug and alcohol abuse in adolescence
- Engaging in sexual intercourse at an earlier age
- Marrying younger
- Getting divorced themselves (6)
To minimize effects of divorce:
- Keep conflict away from the kids.
- Minimize disruptions to kids’ daily routines.
- Confine negativity and blame to private therapy sessions or outside the home. (7)
A Bumpy Road …
The Cyclical Ups and Downs of Marriages
First few years
Exciting and passionate (aka honeymoon effect)
When marriages begin to falter
A drop in marital quality leads to high divorce rates
If a couple survived the first rough patch, then a second rough patch hits around this time
Third rough patch
After 20 years
Marital satisfaction tends to rise and level off (Bliss!)
Strategies to keeping a marriage strong:
- Be thoughtful and affectionate.
- Know little, but personal, details about spouse.
- Pay attention to partner’s feelings.
- Don’t let it get boring.