The Truth about Divorce Statistics


The belief that half of marriages end in divorce, a statistic no longer true, has the deadly effect of causing some couples to give up more easily, the article linked below explains. If half of all marriages end in divorce, some people say, what’s the big deal about getting divorced?


I am skeptical about such claims with most research says otherwise.

Half of all marriages end in divorce, but that is a misread statistic and not for the reasons given in the article. Things are not “improving” especially since many young people are choosing to cohabit before marriage (60% higher chance of divorce), or not get married at all even if they are raising children together.

It is misread because FIRST marriages do have a <50% chance of lasting. In fact, the divorce rates among Catholics are 21% overall, and 1-5% for couples who only use NFP (most Catholics do not understand and/or follow everything the church teaches).

50% of marriage end in divorce, but many of those marriage are second, third, fourth, etc. marriages. It’s not saying 50% of all people are divorced. And studies have consistently shown that first marriages have one statistic, and then second marriages have much higher divorce rates compared to first marriages, third marriages higher than second marriages, etc.

Regarding age, you have to consider that the old couples who are celebrating their 50th, 60th, 75th anniversaries did get married in their late teens or early twenties. But times were different. Marriage meant something. You couldn’t just get up and leave when you got bored or a problem arose. You were encouraged to work things out, and get help from a spiritual director or members of the community if you had problems. Nowadays, divorce counselors often encourage people to get divorced, even if the couple says upfront that they are Catholic and believe that marriage is for life and want to work it out.

I think times have changed also in how people are raised. This is the “me” age. People are often selfish, especially young men and women. They are often not mature enough for a marriage until they are in their late 20s or early 30s. With the economy being as it is, job situation, people getting more schooling than previous generations, childhood lasts longer than it used to as well. Young people haven’t yet figured out who they are going to be or where they are going to live until later in life. And recent studies show the human brain isn’t developed until mid to late 20’s, and the last part to develop is the part where people can see the potential consequences of their actions, so they make more dumb/selfish mistakes than they would if they were older.


78% of all first time marriages last, leaving the remaining 22% to being divorced multiple times. That meant that come divorcees remarried at least one and got another divorce. That’s minimum. But the reality of it is that there are many people that have been divorced more than twice.


Many lifestyle demographics have less than 10% divorce rate, some combination of: attend church, not living together before marriage, parents divorced, lack of marriage preparation, etc. Depends how you slice and dice the data.

When I hear people state the 50% statistic, I mention that it's not the case in my demographic. Or when I hear people talk about how marriage is only a piece of paper, I explain clearly and softly about how my wife and I prepared for 6 months with a priest, and how in a Catholic marriage is a sacrament, and how I stood in front of God and my community to make sacred vows, how my wife and have become one, etc etc


You know. I used to think it was odd for Catholics to prepare that long for marriage. In my mind, either you love and commit and marry or you don’t. It makes a whole lot of sense now, more than many years ago. However, I met my wife, and the Lord called me to marry her like he calls men to the priesthood. It’s like he sent me on a mission. Today is the 22 anniversary of our marriage. She’s a crazy woman, lots of ups and downs, a wonderful person. and she’s my best friend. I really love her very much. my mom and dad’s marriage lasted 7 years. My brother’s marriage lasted 10 years. My younger brother has never married. I pray that he never does get married. My step brothers are both divorced. I watched how they lived their life and avoided living like them. So far so good… actually I’ve modeled my choice lifestyle around those successfully married in my life. I also take the Catholic view of marriage very seriously because it alone seems to hold the full truth about what a marriage actually is supposed to be.


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