Fewer and fewer Americans are getting divorced, with the rates falling 18% between 2008 and 2016.
Among American adults, there is support for divorce when couples do not get along. Women, people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and adults who have experienced divorce personally or among friends and family are especially likely to be accepting.
Despite this growing acceptance, the divorce rate dipped again in 2018. The decline began in 1980 or 1990, depending on the data source and experts. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of divorced persons per 1,000 Americans fell from 4.7 in 1990 to 2.9 in 2016.
Who is driving this downward trend? Adults age 45 and younger.
Young adults are being more decisive – in not only the timing of their nuptials, but also their choice to marry.
Many of these younger adults choose to marry after they have achieved their desired levels of education, established careers and stabilized their finances. They also want to be “bonded” with a mate based on love, friendship and common interests, not social obligation.
In the U.S., the average age at marriage has risen, from 26.1 for men and 22 for women in 1890, to 29.8 for men and 27.8 for women in 2018.
I am a human development and family studies scholar who has spent 20 years studying intimate relationships. In one study, I examined the perspectives of 52 married black men. Achieving their goals relative to education, work and finances was a significant factor in deciding when to marry their wives.
Men praised how the unions with their wives afforded them secure attachment and emotional support, as well as enhanced life success. Nearly one-quarter emphasized the role of individual development and being ready for the type of commitment that a successful marriage requires.
These considerations promote the likelihood of long-term, happy marriages in a culture that values fulfilling one’s goals and happiness.
Meanwhile, older adults are actually becoming more likely to get divorced.
Among those 50 years of age or older, scholars have reported a rise in divorce from 1 in 10 in 1990 to nearly 1 in 4 in 2010. This trend is called “gray divorce.”
Some older adults end their unhappy unions because they have grown apart. In her dissertation and forthcoming book, marriage and family therapist Crystal Hemesath defines falling out of romantic love as a lack of sexual attraction, emotional connectedness or sense of relationship togetherness.
After older adults have perhaps cared for dependent children, parents or other relatives, spouses may reassess their marriages and ask, “What’s next?,” “Who are you?” or, better yet, “Who am I?”
Hemesath interviewed 15 adults. Laura, a 59-year-old woman who was married for 18 years, said this: “It wasn’t until my dad became gravely ill. I would say to my husband, ‘Will you go in and see if dad’s okay?’ He’d say, ‘He’s fine.’ It causes you to look at your own mortality. This person is still emotionally unavailable and distant and if I don’t get out now, I’m doomed. I was unhappy in year one and I stayed 17 more. I hoped that it would change. I didn’t really have the courage to get out. I think a lot of people stay in … for fear of the unknown. It sort of takes your soul away.”
Among those 50 and over, there may simply be irreconcilable differences with how one chooses to live the rest of his or her life and the type of love and companionship one desires.
The pattern in marriage and divorce across both age groups highlights the rise in individualism in our culture. Today, adults have more agency to chart their own life paths based on options they perceive as being available to them.
And because society is more supportive of other ways of forming families, adults are more apt to take their time to marry, if they want to, and exit, if they need to, in order to be happy.
Sociologist Philip Cohen summed up this issue in a September 2018 Bloomberg article. “Marriage is more and more an achievement of status, rather than something that people do regardless of how they’re doing,” he wrote. “Marriage is becoming a more durable, but far more exclusive, institution.”
This is an important change in the way in which adults approach marriage.
New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion
New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.
Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.
Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."
Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.
Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.
Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.
Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!
‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener
Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."
"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.
"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.
She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."