PREDICTING FACTORS OF DIVORCE

Social scientists have recently identified certain factors that could be early indicators that a marriage is headed toward divorce. The following are several important questions that may help predict whether divorce could be in your future.

  • Did you get married in your teenage years or after the age of 32?
  • Does the husband work less than full time?
  • Do you have less than a high school education?
  • Do you frequently show contempt for your partner?
  • Were you overly affectionate as newlyweds?
  • Do you often withdraw during conflict?
  • Do you describe your marital relationship in a negative way?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is at least one factor in your marriage that may predict a divorce.

Marrying at an Early or Later Age

Couples who wed as teenagers or after the age of 32 may be more likely to experience a divorce. According to a University of Utah study, the likelihood of divorce for couples who marry after the age of 32 increases by approximately five percent each year. Many studies find that the optimal time for marriage is during a person’s late 20s. Large age gaps between marriage partners can also increase the likelihood of divorce.

Working Status of the Husband

One strong indicator of divorce is the division of labor in a marriage. Although the employment status of a wife appears to have a minimal effect on divorce predictions, when a husband does not have a full time job, the rate of divorce increases.

Completing a High School Education

Several studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics support the idea that couples who have more formal education are less likely to end their marriages. Many social scientists theorize that lower education levels often mean lower income, which produces more stress in a marriage.

Displaying Contempt for Your Partner

Showing contempt for your partner is another early predictor of divorce.  Criticizing behaviors, viewing your partner as beneath you, acting with defensiveness, and stonewalling a partner are several displays of contempt that do not bode well for the success of a marriage.

Acting Overly Affectionate During the Newlywed Period

Couples who engage in overly affectionate behaviors at the start of their marriage may be more prone to divorce. Psychologists infer that when the romantic intensity of these types of marriages fade, divorce is more likely.

Refusing to Engage in Conflict

Every marriage experiences conflict at one time or another. When one partner withdraws during the conflict and refuses to engage in tough conversations, it can be another indicator that a divorce is more likely to occur.

Using Negative Words to Describe the Marriage

The last sign that a divorce may be coming is often the choice of words individuals use to describe their marriage. In examining the way that partners talk about their marriages, researchers have found that couples who do not express fondness for each or do not use the phrase ‘we’ when talking about the marriage are more likely to end up divorcing their spouse. Expressing disappointment in one’s marriage or describing a marriage as chaotic could also be a predictor that a divorce is more likely to occur.

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