Is Marriage Doomed? Are You Two The Only Ones?

Peter Fournier and Catherine Fournier

How many married couples do you know? How many divorced people do you know? Have you been thinking you must know lucky people, because you know waaaaaay more married than divorced people despite the commonly quoted statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce? Well, people may be lucky to know you, but that's not why they're still married.

The widespread belief that there is a 50% divorce rate is a myth. This number is based on the fact that there are half as many divorces occurring in a year as weddings in the same year. It forgets (conveniently) that there are millions of already existing marriages. It's like saying that since there are half as many deaths in a year as births, that half the babies born in any one year will die. What the rest will live forever?

Nonsense.The actual rate is about 25%. So if you know four married couples, one of them will get a divorce. Sometime. Eventually. Doesn't that fit your experience a little better?

Any divorce is still a tragedy, of course. While simply being married doesn't increase your chances of divorce as the common statistic suggests, there are some indicators to predict divorce rates.

The best indicator seems to be a shared experience of faith. Fundamentalist non-denominational "Born-Again" Christians have the highest divorce rate (about 34%); followed by Baptists, at 29 % Catholics and Lutherans have the lowest divorce rate, about 21 % each. Couples who use NFP are reported to have a 5% divorce rate.

For specifics: divorce rate myth.

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