Future Ex-Wife

Yesterday I was standing in the line checkout line behind two young men of about 20 years of age. Other one started to talk about his “future ex-wife” and noted that he did not intend to be married forever. He did not seem like a hard person as in fact he was quite polite towards me.

I have to admit that I found this comment slightly shocking. Is this something that has always been part of the male thinking or is something in our society making young people to think so cynically. How much changes does a relationship have, if you enter in it thinking you don’t want it to last? Is it only way to protect one self?

Before people used to just live together so they did not get stacked in boring marriages. I wonder if the trend has changed and young people are getting married more, but not intend it to be forever. Is it because divorce has become so common or because people are looking for variety. Maybe marriages are entered more light hearted than before.

Destined to Divorce?

Often when one compares the divorces with new marriages, one can get gloomy. About half of the marriages end up in divorce. What statistics don’t often tell us, is that most people never split. There are certain people that repeatedly marry and divorce, and they distort the statistics for the others. At the same time there are a lot of those, who stay with the same partner after they have once gotten married. How do they make it happen?

The changes in the marriage are better, if you’re mature enough. The risk of divorce decreases with 1/4,  if the both partners are at least 25 years, when entering the marriage. Resent studies of brains have shown that human brains continue to mature until the age of 25. It might not be coincidence, I think. So maybe the comment is more due the maturity of the person and less due to any real change in the deeper values and attitudes of the society.

Risk factors of the marriage are baby less than seven months after marriage (1/4) and that the parents were divorced (1/6). On the other hand good income, college education and going to the church together as the family reduce the risk of divorce slightly. Yet I would not recommend anybody to start going to the church because of their marriage. Instead one could think how the shared family values help to fight for the relationship. Still you should not think that religion itself could save your marriage. That thought itself could ruin it as some statistics show.

Even a high school level of education reduces the risk. It is also better to try to work for your first marriage than start looking for a new one, because second marriage are even more likely to end. You could protect your marriage by entering a premarital education class (reduces risk 1/3), create fair share of chores and invest in your communication skills.

Divorce rates also wary a lot from country to another. The highest divorce rates in the Europe are in UK and Russia, both well below the US rates (about 2/3), free minded Scandinavians reach in about 1/2 of the North American rate and South Europeans are between 1/6-1/10 of that rate. So one should not arrange funerals for the marriage yet.  What is more important is that divorce rates have been slowly dropping in most western countries for years. For example in US the peak of the divorces was already in 1981.

Why Marriage?

Why am I defending marriage? There are a lot of scientific studies to show the benefits of the marriages. Happy marriage is good for ones health and especially for the health of children. Marriage has the ability of making us happier than singleness. Especially it protects the future of our children.

 All these sensible reasons aside, what can a hopeless romantic to do?


6 Responses

  1. If you marry your soul mate, it will last forever. I hope so.

  2. I thought you did not believe in those. 😮

  3. i’ve been married over 30 years and i’m more than ready to end it. i have lived with a drunk all these years and raised three children. all my childen suffer some type of ill effects from living with a drunk. so please think twice about marrying someone who drinks. love does not heal all wounds. maybe some people find out sooner than later problems that cannot be solved

  4. I am truly sorry for you.

    I’ve seen few alcoholics during my life (aunt in law, an uncle and a cousin with her hubby) and the wreck they cause in their kids life. Also a husband of my mom’s best friend is an alcoholic (as well as psychiatric patient) and it is not easy for her. Maybe it is lucky they don’t have kids.

  5. Well, I know young men in the U.S. at least are much more cynical about marriage than they ever have been. And it’s not because cohabitation has decreased. It has, in fact, increased. It seems to have more to do with high divorce rates and divorce court decisions that have been unfavorable to men in the past. Also, a lot of men here just don’t value women as people. They objectify them as sexual partners but want nothing to do with emotional intimacy or commitment.

    By the way, in the U.S., slightly less than half of all marriages (47%) end in divorce, not two-thirds. The divorce rate here has never been as high as two-thirds.

    There are a lot of scientific studies to show the benefits of the marriages. Happy marriage is good for ones health and especially for the health of children. Marriage has the ability of making us happier than singleness. Especially it protects the future of our children.

    I’d urge you to read the book “Singled Out” by Bella DePaulo. She has examined and debunked much of the research that, at first glance, seems to prove that we are better off married. That said, I do think that marriage is something to aspire to for those who want it, and I personally would like to experience it very much. However, singleness gets a bad rap.

  6. Thank you for your information.

    I am sure it would be safer to stay away from men not seeing women as subject rather than objects.

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