On Marriage

MARRIAGEAs I was writing my Monday Smiles post for our 46th Wedding Anniversary on last week, I found an interesting statistic on marriage.   We’ve all read the gloomy news, how the divorce rate rose from 1950 until 1980 when the baby-boomers … beneficiaries or victims of the sexual revolution, depending upon your point of view … began marrying.   That … and considering the way people react when I say I’ve been married to the same woman for forty-six years … made me think that the forty-six year marriage club we recently joined was exclusive.   Yet, according to the census, approximately half of all first marriages make it to the fortieth anniversary.   Thinking about for a few minutes, it makes sense … if 50% of first marriages end in divorce, then those that don’t go on celebrating anniversaries. Of course, if I think about it for a few more minutes … and do a little elementary calendar math … I realize that those of us celebrating 40 to 50 year anniversaries right now are from my (pre-baby-boomer) generation. Those troublesome boomers are just beginning to influence the statistics and, according to an article on the Washington Post, they are now middle-aged but their pattern of high marital instability continues, making it likely the percentage of marriages reaching 40 years will fall in the coming years.

Still, I feel like I’ve been looking at marriage statistics from the glass-half-empty point of view. After all, half of the first marriage end in divorce. But don’t you find it remarkable that half make it to a fortieth anniversary and beyond? I do.

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5 Comments on “On Marriage”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Statistics always have two sides (and more!) of looking at them. Somehow, what is missed in understanding long marriages is that the couple is not always Happy with one another, all the time, even for months, they are just committed to their vows. Eventually, healing occurs. No long term marriage has not had moments of wondering whether to continue or not. Yes, I am married a long time, and yes, agree with you that it is remarkable to know that more than half of the people stay with their commitment.

    • oldereyes Says:

      A wise man once told me (and about fifty others) that, “The secret to a long marriage is making it through those times when You don’t feel like you love each other.” When those times go on and on, though, it’s probably time to bail. But some people don’t, that’s for sure, so yes, there are unhappy long term marriages. But we have a group of five couples we go out with a couple times a year and we are probably the happiest couples I know.

  2. I agree, Wendy…. some marriages go on forever but are not necessarily happy. I’m a boomer, married for 43 years…. happier than a lot of folks I know! But no marriage is perfect.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Glad to hear all the boomers aren’t bringing down the average 🙂 . Perfection is hard to find in human affairs. I was wacthing Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting and his character (the therapist) talked about he and his wife being “perfect for each other.” That does indeed happen, I believe, but sometimes it takes some years to realize it.

  3. jenihill Says:

    Seeing as you and I are about the same age -breathing very heavily now on hitting the 70 age mark, ya know -I guess I am one of the group that brings the numbers down -in the failed marriage group. But I just went through a listing I maintain of my classmates from high school and see that there are at least 6 or 7 couples out of my classmates who have celebrated 50 years of marriage and a very high number that are now over the 40-45 year mark as well. Those who have hit 50-52 years now of marriage are all good friends of mine and although I’m sure they have had some ups and downs over the years, I know that those couples have also had very successful marriages. A few here and there in the 40-45 years range I know have some “issues” but are staying true to their vows after this many years. My own marriage was definitely not a good, happy relationship due mainly to my ex-s drinking as well as womanizing but had he not filed for divorce, I would probably still be in a not very good relationship although I had learned through Al-Anon ways to cope with some of our issues. Overall, I don’t fully regret the divorce as yes, it is better for me, for him too, in some respects, but just saying if things had been a bit different, I most likely would have stayed with him through think or thin. The younger generation though, in my opinion, don’t always want to try to work out their issues -just expect happiness no matter who does what to who, in many cases so no staying power then there. JMHO and nothing I can prove there but that’s how it seems to be to me in so many cases. Just so nice to see that you and Muri have managed to keep things in a good perspective and work through any not so great days along the way.

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