ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Money is the reason most people marry and divorce

Seven-year itch is only half right – The Sunday Times 31.08.03

Researchers have found that 14 years is the barrier couples must get through if they are to stay together, with a divorce most likely to occur at that point.

The research, based on 4,000 married couples tracked over almost 20 years, is one of the largest-ever studies into what keeps couples together or drives them apart.

The findings of the study, by Pennsylvania State University in America, are at odds with the widely held belief that factors such as children and shared financial interests promote marital stability.

Divorce figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics show that four in 10 marriages end in divorce in England and Wales. Last year, 147,735 divorce decrees were granted, the highest level for seven years.

The average length of the marriages dissolved was 11.1 years, not far off the figure in the American research. If the time couples spend courting is taken into account, it would be closer still.

“We found happily married people tended to view their marriages mainly in terms of rewards (love, friendship, communication, mutual respect and sex) whereas unhappily married people tended to view their marriages mainly in terms of barriers (children, religion, financial need and commitment to the institution of marriage),” say the authors.

Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a divorce lawyer with 26 years experience and the author of Secrets of Relationship Success, said: “We have a crisis in relationships and expectations at present. In my experience money is the reason most people marry and the number one reason people list when they divorce, particularly men.”

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 9/03/2003
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