Seems like a lot of longterm marriages are ending


I don’t know a specific stat, but I have been seeing this in my everyday life …my sister was married 27 years, then divorced. We have neighbors and family members who were married 30+ years, then divorced. People that I work with…of course, I don’t ask the details, but I just find it interesting that long term marriages are ending at a more rapid rate than say 25 years ago? Divorce in general is higher, I know, but after 35 years of being married to someone…why would someone then consider divorce? What I mean by that, is that a marriage couldn’t be great for so long, and then go sour…or could it?? Maybe the couples were living a lie all their lives, and finally had enough? It’s sad, though. I think of growing old with my husband–it would sadden me if he left me at any time, let alone when I’m 60 or something.:frowning:

Do you see this happening around you? What do you make of it?:confused:


I agree it seems odd that people who were able to live together in relative contentment for X years all of a sudden end up in divorce court at such a late date. My mother, soon to be married 40 years and counting, informs me that there seems to be a phenomenon sometimes called the “seven year itch.” There seems to be loosely/approximately seven-years-long stages in marriages, and you as a couple and as individuals must master the developmental issues particular to each stage in order to move on to the next. If you fail to master successfully the issues of each stage, then even 21-, 28-, 35-years old marriages can fall apart.

For example, the couple experiences an initial adjustment stage in the newlywed period, adjusting to each other, in-laws, etc. then you enter the early parenthood stage with young children, then older parenthood with teens, then the going-away-to-college and empty nest years, then all-day togetherness of retirement years. There are new issues requiring introspection, growth, communication, negotiation, and compromise all over again at each stage.

At the same time you are going through psychological/emotional developmental stages as individuals: career, parenthood, individual identity issues that may result in mid-life crises of asking “Who am I?” and “What do I have to show for my life?” and “Is it too late to change directions?” and going back to school, changing careers, etc. Evidently conflicts can arise from any of these issues that can tear apart even already long-lived marriages.

And then there’s the advice I’ve heard about “There are women out there who don’t care that you have a happy marriage and family, they will fixate on your husband, and do anything physical and emotional seduction-wise to get him for their own.” So never take your spouse for granted, continue paying attention to your own appearance and interesting conversation, continue to compliment and build up your spouse, etc. etc. so the “other pastures” won’t look greener by comparison.


I can’t imagine it either being married to my hubby 17 years and very happy. (We worked out all our junk about 10 years ago.)

I do know my parents have been married over 40 years and and the last 20+ have really stunk. Since I was 13 my dad has mention divorce at least once a year. He bought a second house almost 10 years ago so he’d have some place to go to get away when she’s completely driving him mad. I know my mom - it’s not hard for her to do. My parents are from the generation that just don’t get divorced.

A couple years ago when they were going through a particularly bad spell he told me he was really divorcing her this time. I told him uh no it’s a little late now. My parents are in the mid to late 70’s (mom’s three years older than dad). My mom doesn’t drive and she has major health problems. I told him if you were going to leave you should have done it years ago -what is she going to do now? They’re still married. I feel badly for both of them because their marriage is awful. I truly think they married the wrong people.

We went and visited an old air force buddy of my dad’s in Iowa a few years ago and it really hit me -this is the kind of life that would have made my dad happy. Very down to earth people, not showy, wife liked garage sale-ing, they traveled in a motor home every year. My dad grew up on a farm in Germany. He totally would have like the kind of life his buddy had.

My mom grew up in Naples -she would have been happy with an upper class Italian man. You know you see those Italian homes with marble and water fountains and all that -that’s my mom.:shrug:

It is sad. My mom’s brother divorced his wife when he was almost 80, after 7 children. They had lived apart for years already. My aunt lived with her daughter in a mother-in-law apartment and my uncle in the apartment they had shared. He remarried to a Russian woman who is almost 20 years younger. It was very weird for my mom because her and my aunt had known each other since they were girls in Italy. Now her and my aunt don’t talk.:frowning:


my replies are below in red

Yes, so true. And there are men who don’t care if a woman is married either:o …so, yes, we must cling to our prayers…the Rosary for protection of our marriages, and also make sure we truly love our spouses. Thanks for your reply…Makes a lot of sense!


Almost 80???:eek: I’m sorry to hear that about your uncle…how sad. It is happening more and more…


We nearly divorced around the 7 year mark -it started around year 5 -it was not pretty. Fortunately we didn’t run into anything at the 14 year mark. I’m hoping that two years of h-e double hockey sticks took care of it all. I think me being sick kind of makes all other issues pale in perspective. I have seen the cycles in my friends marriages as well.

My best friend recently went through a really rough spot. The D word was mentioned. I was like “No way, you guys have survived sooo much. It get’s better, it always gets better. Life has it’s ups and downs but it does go up again.” They have been under so much stress lately their teenage daughter had a baby, they’re finances are a wreck, their youngest who is 5 had to go to counseling because of behavioral issues -who the heck wouldn’t be cracking under such stress. I convinced her to go to Retrouvaille with her hubby and she is so glad they did. Things are much better.

After she got back she tried to get her cousin to go with her husband. Her cousin at first seemed interested but finally said she isn’t interested in having a relationship with her husband at this point.:frowning: Marriage is work - I think too many people buy into happily ever after.


Yes, I agree…the whole ‘Cinderella complex’ (great book by the way but a bit feministic) is put into our heads as little girls…that we will have a knight on a white horse, swoop us away and we will never have any problems. But, for me, I think my marital problems in the past, stemmed from unresolved issues as a child…my parents’ passing away when I was a child, was very hard…but I never grieved for years. I didn’t really even grasp what had happened until roughly 7 years into my marriage, and then I was suddenly frightened of commitment. I think I viewed commitment as a bad thing–because it would be one more person I would lose someday. I attribute the strength of our marriage now to our faith…really. Nothing more than our faith. God’s grace carried us through, and there was a time when we both lost hope, but God didn’t!:slight_smile:

Marriage is very much an up and down thing…but isn’t all of life? The seasons change…some days, there isn’t a cloud in the sky…other days, terrential storms…so, such is marriage. Jesus said to those Apostles in the boat afraid of the pending storm…‘what little faith you have.’ :o It’s through the storms, that our marriages will stand the test of time…and for those storms, do I respect and love my husband the most. Thanks for chatting, I think you and I are on the same page with this.:slight_smile:


I will pray for your friend’s cousin though…I believe in I.B.M.'s! (itsy bitsy miracles):slight_smile:


Is it possible that retirement changes things for the worst in some people? Perhaps, when people retire and do not get hobbies, part-time work, volunteer work, etc., they just cannot stand being around each other 24/7. My parents did not have that problem because my father got a part-time job after he retired from his full-time job. He knew he would drive my mother crazy if he was around the house all the time (and would drive himself crazy too). They had no difficulties because he realized this and took steps to solve it. They were married for 48 years, until he passed away last February and got along better during the retirement years than ever before.


Hi Laura;

I had never thought of that!!! That is an interesting point…I wonder now that you mention this…maybe there is something to that!


This is exactly what happened when my FIL retired. He had worked 6 days a week or someitmes 7 at the same job for more than 30 years. They never took a holiday or even a weekend away together after their honeymoon. As a result they only saw eachother for a few hours every evening and on Sundays. When my FIL retired he was in the house 24/7 and had no hobbies. They went through a very shaky patch and didn’t speak for more than a year. Things are better now, and my FIL got a pt job 3 days a week and has taken up swimming.



This is what Pope Benedict had to say about families this past Sat. 11/4, on

“The Pope also called the family a “sacred and sanctifying place” when he met Saturday with some 400 participants in the International New Families Meeting, which marked the 40th anniversary of the organization’s foundation.”

Opposites attract, but birds of a feather stay together. I always thought marriage would be such a natural continuance of life. Not sure why it has to be such a battle ground.


research is being done on just this question and one thing that has emerged, and was in fact discussed on this forum a while back, is that couples in my generation, the first to have the pill available, the generation that rejected Humanae Vitae and Church teaching on contraception wholesale, the first fruits of the sexual revolution, who often lived together before marriage, are now reaping what was sowed.

because in such marriages where ABC has always or nearly always been used, couples never developed true intimacy, or any ways of being together, being close, communicating, or expressing love except sex. when you get to the age where sex is less important, or often not possible due to illness or whatever, there is simply nothing left of the relationship. women in these late divorce scenarios, where ABC has been part of the marriage since the beginning, almost invariable express anger at having been used as a sex object. and many men express anger at wives whose reasons for using ABC (career, health whatever) “cheated” them out of the children they wanted to have.

there is a lot of anger in these long term relationships that go sour, often to the extent that if they did not divorce they might even get violent. where in a younger couple often there are other factors like adultery, in older couples it is often anger, resentment, refusal to accommdate each other and to forgive, that breaks it up.


I understand it’s quite common for people to divorce once the last kid is at college. They’ve stayed together that long for the children, but once they feel the children no longer need them to be together, then they divorce.

Of course, as a child of divorce, I have to say that divorce was less traumatic than living with parents who are truly miserable together and made my life at home a living Hell.


I just want to make it clear that I’m not advocating divorce. It’s just, in my personal circumstances, my dad was not committed to improving the marriage. If they were both committed to improving their marriage, then that would have been different. But I don’t think that parents should think that having a bad marriage has no negative affect on their children.


When I was single-eons ago-I had a couple of girlfriends who went after married men. For some reason, they found married men a challange and it boosted their egos to get someone else’s man.:frowning:

I have discovered that some single moms can become infatuated with the type of man who they would never been attracted to while single. A wife might think that her plump, balding husband is not a good catch, but a woman ending a bad marriage might see him differently. A stable male with a job, house and car who already does little things like taking out the trash or plays ball with his kids, suddently becomes a catch.


Ooooh, Annie, I would LOVE to get my hands on this research!! Do you have any information for me? :smiley: This sounds incredibly intriguing; I need to add as much as I can to my knowledge of social trends. Thank you so much for your post; this is great.


Sadly, I’ve seen it a lot in our volunteer work with Retrouvaille. Good news is, it doesn’t have to happen. We were definitely the youngest volunteer couple in our area, most of the people were just as you said, started having trouble when their kids were grown. But Retrouvaille saved a lot of those marriages! Gotta get the plug in as often as I can :wink:


I heard recently (sorry, can’t quote a source) that the “year marks” for divorce are 5 - 7 years (7 year itch!) and then again around 16 - 20 years. The latter one being couples who raised kids, became empty nesters, then had nothing in common and divorced. —KCT


I think a big cause of so many long term marriages ending may have to do with divorce becoming more and more acceptable than it was even 10-15 years ago. It’s almost like it’s becoming taboo to stay in a bad/unhappy/boring etc. etc. marriage.

Our society has gotten more and more selfish and self-centered in the last decade. It’s only going to get worse…until Satan is stopped. :frowning:

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