It is true that knowing the difference between marriage myths and marriage facts can improve your chances of having a successful marriage. For example, it is a FACT that if you get married before the age of 24 in the USA, you have a MUCH higher chance of getting divorced than those who get married at 25 and older. The divorce rate for those getting married after the age of 25 is only about 30%, which is less than half the 65% divorce rate for those getting married before the age of 24.
What really matters is understanding the difference between the "truths" about marriage and the myths about marriage. Test yourself with the 10 statements about marriage below based upon our 33 years of research in 49 countries and all seven of the world's continents. See if you know the difference between fact and fiction:
Truth or Myth?
- Married couples have sex lives that are less satisfying than those who are not married.
- Cohabitation works well and generally leads to marriage.
- Long-time happily married couples nearly always say that their spouse is their best friend.
- Married women have a higher risk of domestic violence in their relationship than unmarried women.
- Spending time alone improves your marriage.
- Marriage can usually survive infidelity.
- The more educated a women is, the less likely she is to get married.
- Bringing children into a marriage strengthens the marriage.
- College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma.
- There are no particular advantages to being married.
See how you did. Here are the answers based upon current research:
- MYTH – Married couples have sex lives that are less satisfying than those who are not married. TRUTH – In fact, the research evidence supports the opposite conclusion– those who are married have far better sex lives and enjoy it more than those who are not married. There is no debate in reputable circles about this fact!
- MYTH – Cohabitation works well and generally leads to marriage. TRUTH – Those who cohabitate are not as committed to their relationship as those who are married. In fact, those who cohabitate before marriage have a significantly higher divorce rate when married than those who have not cohabitated!
- FACT– Long time happily married couples nearly always say that their spouse is their best friend. In fact, the most successfully married couples report to us in our interviews with them that their best friend in life IS their spouse. There is no other acceptable answer to this question. It is the only way your marriage can become a lifelong love affair like those we have studied throughout the world. Being in love is never enough without a deep and trusted friendship between the two of you.
- MYTH – Married women have a higher risk of domestic violence in their marriage than unmarried women. TRUTH – In fact, women who are married have a far LESS chance of being abused than those who cohabitate without being married.
- FACT– Spending time alone improves your marriage. Always allow time to be alone – for both you and your spouse. We have learned over the past three decades of research that every human being has a fundamental predisposition to be alone. Allow yourself time to be alone to your thoughts each day. Extending the same opportunity to your spouse will pay huge dividends for your marriage.
- MYTH – Marriage can usually survive infidelity. TRUTH – While some marriages do in fact continue after infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity. Once the most fundamental underpinning of the relationship – trust – is lost, it can never be fully re-gained.
- MYTH – The more educated a women is the less likely she is to get married. TRUTH – There is no basis in fact for this mythology. In fact, college educated women are more likely to get married than their less educated counterparts.
- MYTH – Bringing children into a marriage strengthens the marriage. TRUTH – Nora Ephron once said, "Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage!" Children are wonderful, but they bring stress and challenges to a marital relationship. Be prepared for the ups and downs of having children.
- FACT– College educated couples have a much less chance of divorce than those with only a high school diploma. Focus on getting an education that includes post-secondary training. Education almost always leads to enlightenment and understanding and more tolerance for the views of others – all of which are critically important in successful marriages.
- MYTH – There are no particular advantages to being married. TRUTH – In our own research and in the research of others, there are clear advantages and benefits to being married including living longer, being healthier and accumulating more wealth. The health benefits accrue more to men and the financial benefits more to women.
The facts about marriage reveal that people who get married older, who have higher education levels, who do not have children in their first year of marriage and who marry someone of their general social class, have a much higher chance of marital success than those who do not meet these thresholds.
The truth of the matter is this — the best marriages survive and thrive — many for a lifetime. And those successful marriages know the differences between truth and mythology. They practice truth and ignore the myths.
For more tips to enhance your relationship get the best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts. Available wherever books are sold.
By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy – the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.
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