As 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.