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Marrying for Life

Choosing your someone to live with or marry? Never been married before? Lots of juicy new data out to help you choose. It should be heartening to those recently married and wondering if they will make it through their current disappointment or fight, too.

You have probably been hearing news clips about the report on first marriages that was released last week. The data were collected from 2006 though 2010 from 15 to 44 year olds around the U.S.

People are marrying later and more are cohabiting first. This is what the news media keep reporting.

Here is what I notice in the report.

We are marrying later, but by age 40, the probability of a woman having been married at least once remains right around 80%, the same as in the 1995 and 2002 surveys. We are still big fans of marriage.

If you are a woman, you have a 52% chance of a 20th anniversary of your first marriage. But if you have a bachelors degree or higher, that jumps to 78%. No matter what your education, if you get married before you give birth to any children and while you are not pregnant, you have a 77% chance. Finishing college OR postponing pregnancy until after the wedding puts you in a group of women with better than 3-to-1 odds of your first marriage lasting 20 years or more.

Men also get a great boost from a bachelors degree and postponing children: 65% of those with a bachelors or better and 74% of those with no prior kids and none on the way make it to the 20th anniversary of their first marriage.

Your odds are also much higher with a partner who lived with both of his or her biological or adoptive parents at age 14, who has never been married before, OR who has no children by other people. They are higher, too, if avoid cohabitation at least until you are engaged to marry.

The data comes from the National Survey of Family Growth by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) in a March 22, 2012 report entitled First Marriages in the United States: Data From the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth.


I just found your site and read several articles. I am thankful for what you're doing's well needed in our society. Thank you for the wide range of topics focused on loving your mate as we each should. I can't tell you enough how much I love the style of your articles.

Thanks, Jennifer!

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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