Divorce statistics can be discouraging, with more than 60% of second marriages and more than 70% of third marriages eventually dissolving. There are diverse causes – including financial stress, issues unresolved from previous relationships, and challenges related to becoming a stepparent. But the encouraging news is that the numbers don’t necessarily reveal the whole story. You may have the power to change the narrative to one of success and happiness that defies the odds so often cited by naysayers. The success of a marriage depends mostly on what each spouse is willing to put into it to make it work. But statistics can help you gain insight into whether you are more likely to marry again, and how likely you are to experience a remarriage that lasts.
Both Divorce and Remarriage Are on the Rise
It just takes some time, growth, and the right partner – and the right demographics can also help. Also, consider that although the divorce rate has steadily increased, so has the number of people who have remarried – so you are not alone. In fact, close to one out of every four people who are married are on the second marriage or beyond. So, even if you’ve gone through a divorce, you can find love again – and the average person going through their first divorce is only 30 years old, giving them plenty of time to meet another serious partner.
Maturity and Experience
Almost 60% of divorced people age 55 and older have gotten remarried at some point, compared to 42% of 18 to 35-year-olds. One reason is that it usually takes years for a marriage to evolve and then dissolve. That’s particularly true when children are involved, and the couple wants to wait until the kids are grown before they divorce.
After becoming “empty nesters,” divorce and remarriage can be more feasible and have less negative impact on the family. Learning from divorce can also help you avoid pitfalls in your next marriage. More than seven out of 10 couples surveyed in one research project reported that before getting married the first time, they didn’t fully understand the nature of that commitment. That’s why many couples use prenuptial agreements to ensure that both parties have a clear understanding and mutual communication of what is expected. That can be beneficial to both you and your partner because it can create transparency over sensitive issues like finances. Such prior planning can proactively eliminate disagreements and misunderstandings that often flare up and disrupt marriages that might otherwise succeed.
Finances are a Factor
Financial topics may not be romantic, but they do matter. Financial insecurity can also be a strong practical impetus for remarrying, particularly for women experiencing wage inequality. Many women earn considerably less than their male counterparts for doing the exact same job – or sacrificing their careers to help raise children. Therefore it’s not surprising that many women over the age of 50 are less financially secure – and about 25% live in poverty. Having a marriage partner who is a reliable earner may help resolve such challenges. Some experts believe that couples entering their second marriages fare better than younger people in first marriages, because as people grow older, their savings can also grow. Many studies demonstrate that one of the top reasons marriages fail is because of stress over money. But financial security can help eliminate that strain on a marriage.
Gender May Make a Difference
Men have always been more likely to remarry than women, although this gap is narrowing. Today, approximately 64% of men and 52% of women have remarried. Perhaps the lingering disparity has something to do with the benefits that men get from marriage. According to a study from University College London, unmarried men are more likely to develop health problems than married men. Still, single women have no increased health risks when compared to their married counterparts.
Ethnicity is a Factor
Although the number of people who remarry has increased overall, it has decreased for Asian, African American, and Hispanic adults. Caucasians are the most likely to get remarried: 60% of divorced Caucasian people have taken the plunge again at some point. Asians, however, are at the other end of the spectrum. Just 10% of currently married Asians are on their second marriage or beyond. This trend may reflect the fact that Caucasians are more likely to get married to begin with. Just 68% of African Americans and 84% of Hispanics ever get married, compared to 90% of Caucasians. People of color also tend to get married later, perhaps limiting opportunities (or the desire) to get married again after a divorce.
Commitment is the Key
Seventy-five percent of divorced people cite a lack of commitment as the main culprit – which even exceeds infidelity as the most common reason marriages fail. As John Lennon said, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Take time before remarrying to understand the causes of failure in prior marriages and to identify what you want (and don’t want) in a spouse. Seeking professional help and guidance from a therapist can be an excellent resource in that regard. Preparing yourself for remarriage through making better, more intentional choices, can help you beat the odds and increase your chances of success and happiness. Then commit wholeheartedly to the process and journey and reap the mutually joyful rewards you helped create.