The risk of divorce is far below fifty percent for educated people going into their first marriage, and lower still for people who wait to marry at least until their mid-twenties, haven’t lived with many different partners prior to marriage, or are strongly religious and marry someone of the same faith.Many people have asked me what it’s like being an American woman married to an Arab man.The increased risk is much lower, however, if the marital partner is someone who grew up in a happy, intact family. For large segments of the population, the risk of divorce is far below fifty percent.
Despite the growing numbers of potential marriage partners with children, one study noted, “having children is still one of the least desirable characteristics a potential marriage partner can possess.” The only characteristic ranked lower is the inability to hold a steady job. Women and men who are college-educated are more likely to marry, and less likely to divorce, than people with lower levels of education.Despite the romantic notion that people meet and fall in love through chance or fate, evidence suggests that social networks are important in bringing together individuals of similar interests and backgrounds.According to a large-scale national survey, almost 60% of married people were introduced by family, friends, co-workers or other acquaintances. People who are similar in their values, backgrounds and life goals are more likely to have a successful marriage.Marital social norms that encourage healthy, productive behavior and wealth accumulation play a role.
Some of the greater wealth of married couples results from their more efficient specialization and pooling of resources, and because they save more.
Married people also receive more money from family members than the unmarried (including cohabiting couples), probably because families consider marriage more permanent and binding than a cohabiting union. People who are married are more likely to have emotionally and physically satisfying sex lives than single people or those who live together.