Bliss in Britain?
A recent U.K. study reports that couples on their second marriages are happier but are second marriages are less likely to end in divorce?
The Marriage Foundation, an organization based in England, works to lessen the burden on the British family justice system by helping couples maintain “happy, stable relationships.” According to their statistics, some 500,000 people a year pass through the family courts, at at cost to the government of some $67 billion dollars a year. Some 45 percent of marriages between first-timers are destined for the divorce courts, while just 31 per cent of second weddings will end in failure, the Marriage Foundation has claimed.
Husbands who are getting married the second time around are also more likely to find happiness, the Foundation reported, using figures from the British Office for National Statistics. The results suggested that those on their second marriage benefit from age and experience, are more ready to commit, and will have carefully weighed the pros and cons of getting married instead of impulsively tying the knot.
The author of the Marriage Foundation’s report, Harry Benson, said, “Overall, second marriages do better because couples who get married for the second time are invariably older than those marrying for the first time. One possibility is that higher age is a proxy for higher income. Higher income acts as a buffer against some of the everyday difficulties faced by most couples.”
Benson said another factor in favor of second marriages is that the couples are older and so are their kids. The age factor brings more maturity all around, he said.
It’s Different in America
Psychiatrist Mark Banschick, author of The Intelligent Divorce series of books, has a different opinion on the matter. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, he wrote in Psychology Today.
Statistics in the United States show that 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. Why does it get worse each round? Banschick wrote one common explanation is that a significant number of people enter a second or third marriage “on the rebound” from their first or second divorce. They are vulnerable and don’t allow enough time to recover from their divorce before heading down the aisle again. They enter their next marriage for the wrong reasons, Banschick wrote – not learning from their past marital miscues. They are liable to repeat their mistakes, making them attuned to similar conflicts, setting the foundation for another broken marriage.
“I believe that the prime factor affecting the breakup of second and third marriages is that there is less glue holding the marriage together, [meaning] children and family, Banschick wrote. “Parent and child relationships can be a source of conflict in some marriages, but overall children act as a stabilizing factor in marriages, and when children are absent, the marriage is prone to be rocked by minor storms.”
It’s not all doom and gloom the second time around, but there are dark skies overhead, Banschick wrote.
“Clearly there are many people who learn the lessons of their first divorce and move on to happy, long second marriages. But all the evidence suggests that it gets harder and harder to keep the show on the road as you move onto the next marriage. It is this trend that is reflected in recent divorce statistics.”
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