By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

First, here are the facts. If you get married before the age of 24 in the USA, you have a MUCH higher chance of getting divorced than those who get married at 25 and beyond.

The divorce rate for those getting married after the age of 25 is about 30% -- less than half the divorce rate for those getting married before the age of 24! This is a very significant difference we think!

The message here should be very clear – getting married when you are older is far better than getting married at a younger age! The dividing line for marital success seems to be around 25-26 years of age.

There are many reasons that support this conclusion. But the truth is this – people who get married older, who have higher education levels, who do not have children when they get married, and who marry someone of their general social class, have a much higher chance of marital success than those who do not meet these thresholds. There is hardly any dispute about these facts.

These aforementioned “truths” are real and supported by the available research on the topic. But in the end, what really matters are the ”truths” about marriage, not the mythologies about marriage.

Here are our “Top Ten Mythologies” about Marriage in America in 2011 based on our nearly three decades of marriage research in 45 countries and on six of the world’s seven continents.

Here they are:

MYTHOLOGY 1 – Married folks have sex lives that are less satisfying than those who are not married.

REALITY – Not true! In fact, the research evidence supports the opposite conclusion– those who are married have far better sex lives than those who are not married. There is no debate in reputable circles about this fact. Married couples have more sex and enjoy it more.

MYTHOLOGY 2 – Married women have a higher risk of domestic violence in their marriage than unmarried women.

REALITY – Simply not true!! In fact, women who are married have a far LESS chance of being abused than those who cohabitate without being married.

MYTHOLOGY 3 – Cohabitation works as well as marriage.

REALITY – Those who cohabitate are not as committed to their relationship as those who are married. They are more focused on themselves than on their partner. In fact, those who cohabitate before marriage have a significantly higher divorce rate than those who have not cohabitated!

MYTHOLOGY 4 – Marriage can survive infidelity.

REALITY – While some marriages do in fact survive infidelity, the overwhelming majority do not. Think long and hard about what you will lose before you engage in infidelity.

MYTHOLOGY 5 – The more educated a women is the less likely she is to get married.

REALITY – There is no basis in fact for this mythology. In fact, college educated women are more likely to get married than their less educated brethren.

MYTHOLOGY 6 – Bringing children into a marriage strengthens the marriage.

REALITY – Nora Ephron once said, “Having children is like throwing a hand grenade into a marriage!” Children are wonderful, but they can bring stress and challenge to a marital relationship. Be prepared for the ups and downs!
MYTHOLOGY 7 – When you get married you lose your individual identity for the benefit of the oneness of your marriage.

REALITY – Nothing could be further from the truth. In so many ways, a successful marriage is about “turning two into one.” But the truth is, in the best marriages neither spouse loses their individual identity or subjugates their individual strengths.

MYTHOLOGY 8 – The one you are married to does not have to be your best friend.

REALITY – Our three decades of research across cultures and continents suggest the opposite. In fact, the most successfully married couples nearly always report to us in our interviews with them that their best friend in life IS their spouse.

MYTHOLOGY 9 – There are no particular advantages to being married.

REALITY – In our own research and in the research of others, there are clear advantages and benefits to being married including living longer, being healthier, and accumulating more wealth. The health benefits accrue more to men and the financial benefits more to wives.

MYTHOLOGY 10 – The most successfully married couples don’t argue.

REALITY – Simply not true! In fact, all couples argue – those married successfully and those who are not. The difference is how they argue. The best marriages fight fair. If you decide to submerge your feelings, let the anger fester, and go to bed mad at each other – well, you are heading down a path that could ultimately lead to the destruction of your marriage. Arguing is healthy for a marriage. Just fight fair!

The truth of the matter is this – the best marriages survive and thrive – many for a lifetime. And those successful marriages
know the differences between truth and mythology. They practice truth and ignore the mythologies.

Simple Things Matter in love and marriage. Love well!

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

For more tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With 29 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 45-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

Get started with America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts by taking their Marriage Quiz or sending your questions to Ask the Doctors for Marriage Advice.

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