Why Be Married? Because Most Couples Don't Divorce
Here's the skinny on divorce. If you first got married in the 1950s, the odds are better than 2 to 1 you celebrated your 25th wedding anniversary. If you married in the 1960s, the odds are still good you got there: a little better than 1.5 to 1. If you married in the 1970s, the odds are 1.2 to 1, still better than even.
If you recently married, or you're thinking about getting married, your parents might be among those who married in the 1970s. Almost a third of the couples married then were divorced before their 10th anniversary, which means even when you were just a kid, a lot of the adults in your life were splitting up, maybe even your parents.
I can't blame you if you expect your chances of staying together for the long run must be pretty slim now. But there's good news.
The tide turned in 1979. The percentage of first-marriage couples staying together has been climbing since then. For those married in the 1990s, the odds of still being married ten years later were pretty close to what they were for the 1960s couples: for every ten couples who split up, another 35 didn't.
Across the board, divorce is down. The total number of divorces per 1,000 married couples is 25% lower now than it was in 1979. It's back to 1972 levels, lower than 1947 levels. (All statistics from Trends in Marriage Stability by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, October 2007.)
So, why be married? Because most couples don't ever divorce, and a good marriage grows richer with every year.