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This article is a classic example of
well-meant, superficial "research" and mass-media reportage about marriage.
It misdirects readers from the true causes of marital failure - psychological wounds + an inability to problem-solve + unwise commitment choices. See my comments after the
article. The links and hilights below
are mine. -
Peter Gerlach, MSW
+ + +
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) – Living happily
ever after needn't only be for fairy tales.
Australian researchers have
identified what it takes to keep a couple together, and it's a lot more
than just being in love.
A couple's age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or
not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last,
according to a study by researchers from the Australian National
The study, entitled "What's Love Got to Do With It," tracked nearly
2,500 couples -- married or living together -- from 2001 to 2007 to
identify factors associated with those who remained together compared
with those who divorced or separated.
It found that a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is
twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before
they turn 25.
Children also influence the longevity of a marriage or relationship,
with one-fifth of couples who
have kids before marriage -- either from a previous relationship or in
the same relationship -- having separated compared to just nine
percent of couples without children born before marriage.
Women who want children much more than their partners are also more
likely to get a divorce.
A couple's parents also have a role to play in their own relationship,
with the study showing some 16 percent of men and women whose parents
ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves
compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate.
Also, partners who are on their
second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate
than spouses who are both in their first marriage.
Not surprisingly, money also plays a role, with up to 16 percent of
respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband -- not
the wife -- was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only
nine percent of couples with healthy finances.
And couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more
likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.
Factors found to not significantly affect separation risk included the
number and age of children born to a married couple, the wife's
employment status and the number of years the couple had been employed.
The study was jointly written by Dr Rebecca Kippen and Professor Bruce
Chapman from The Australian National University, and Dr. Peng Yu from
the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous
I've studied family
relationships for 36 years, and counseled
hundreds of troubled couples since 1981. The
pattern that has emerged from them is that typical marital stresses come from
four or five combined causes:
in one or both partners, and...
and ignorance of up to
7 vital topics,
- specially effective-communication basics; and...
can find little
help available in their community or the media.
Australian researchers did not test for these variables in assessing the 2,500
couples they studied for six years. In my experience, this omission is
common among reputable (unaware) social researchers and relationship authors
This reprint illustrates two major, reputable media sources with a wide readership
(Reuters and Yahoo News) suggesting superficial causes of marital
separations - at least with Australian couples. This unintentionally hinders family
adults and human-service professionals from awareness of the five stressors
above and what they mean - epidemic psychological and
legal divorce, and major family and social trauma.
starts in courtship. It is a sign of - and a cause of - the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
blights most societies. For more perspective, see this
article.For three useful steps to
prevent divorce, see this.
Lessons 1-7 in this nonprofit Web site offer practical help in combating the first four
marriage and family stressors
This brief YouTube video outlines key things mates need from each other for a
satisfying relationship. Divorce occurs when one or both partners aren't filling these needs well enough.
The video mentions eight lessons in this self-improvement Web site - I've
reduced that to seven: