WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN???
Here's the wind-up:
When it comes to divorce, the research has generally backed up the belief that it's best to wait until around 30 to tie the knot. The sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger of the University of Utah found that women who got married "too early" (mid-20s or earlier) were more likely to break up than their peers who married close to age 30.
And here's the kicker:
As we recently discovered, however, there is an interesting exception to the idea that waiting until 30 is best. In analyzing reports of marriage and divorce from more than 50,000 women in the U.S. government's National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we found that there is a group of women for whom marriage before 30 is not risky: women who married directly, without ever cohabiting prior to marriage. In fact, women who married between 22 and 30, without first living together, had some of the lowest rates of divorce in the NSFG.
So basically, waiting to live with a man until that man has sworn to stick with you before God and family seems to be a good template for life.
Huh. Who'd a thunk it?
This article from the Wall Street Journal discusses a variety of different studies on this topic. I suspect Brad Wilcox and Lyman Stone are coming from a conservative angle where they want to show how traditional norms best hold society together, given Wilcox's background as director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and Stone's role with the American Enterprise Institute.
Regardless, it's humorous and also profoundly sad that our culture needs to be reminded of these truths.
By contrast, for the approximately 70% of women in our sample who cohabited with one or more partners prior to marriage, the conventional wisdom held. For them, waiting until around 30 was linked to a lower risk of divorce.
They then ask this question:
What's going on here?
I dunno guys. I wish we had any body of work that described human origins, identity, and behavior, with explicit details about how marriage and other relationships should work. Man that would be helpful!
…a majority of young adults believe that living together is a good way to pretest the quality of your partner and your partnership, thereby increasing the quality and stability of your marriage. But a growing body of research indicates that Americans who live together before marriage are less likely to be happily married and more likely to land in divorce court.
In looking at the marital histories of thousands of women across the U.S., we found that women who cohabited were 15% more likely to get divorced. Moreover, a Stanford study indicates that the risk is especially high for women who cohabited with someone besides their future husband. They were more than twice as likely to end up in divorce court.
So… basically, the wisdom of God is better than the wisdom of the age? My goodness if only we could have known this decades ago when promiscuity became cool and divorce skyrocketed!
About this pattern, the psychologist Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver observes, "We generally think that having more experience is better…. But what we find for relationships is just the opposite. Having more experience is related to having a less happy marriage later on."
Again, I am shocked. Shocked!! It's almost like there are certain boundaries that our Creator wants us to respect, and that there is something deeply sacred about "becoming one flesh."
It's almost like He loves us and guides us as a Father who wants what is best for us according to the designs He made.
We don't know precisely why young women who marry directly in their 20s without cohabiting have comparatively low divorce rates.
I'm sure the experts will figure it out and catch up to the rest of us soon.
Anyway, I've got to go: I have to get back to scouring the interwebs, where supremely unhappy people mash on their keyboards about how they don't need an invisible sky fairy telling them what to do!
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇