Predicting Marital Success or Failure
There are many reasons why people get married. There are also a lot of reasons why people get divorced. Research has shown that there are several factors that can determine the success rate or failure rate of a marriage. This paper will attempt to briefly discuss some of the factors that research has discovered regarding the success and failure rate in U.S. marriages today.
For many years, researchers have studied characteristics of people planning on getting married. They have been interested in identifying various factors that normally determine the success or failure of a marriage. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, approximately 49% of all marriages taking place in the U.S. end with divorce. It is this high divorce rate that prompts researchers to look further into the situation and try to identify factors that could determine the success or failure of the marriage. Through recent research efforts, various factors can influence and determine if a marriage is going to a success or failure. Some of the most common factors among average couples include communication, control, age, education, finances, common beliefs and interests, cultural conformity, religion, honesty and trust, and equality and commitment. These are just a few of the more common factors that researchers have identified that can determine the success or failure of marriage.
One of the most important elements in any type of relationship is communication. In order to feel comfortable in a relationship each partner must be able to clearly and safely open themselves and communicate with their partner. Not only does good communication build trust, it also is very respectful. During communication, both partners should pay close attention to one another while maintaining eye contact during the conversation. Good communication can demonstrate a partner's genuine interest in the topic the other person is communicating, thus in the end, creating a better relationship. People who have been in successful marriages will tell you that one of the key elements in their martial success is their ability to communicate successfully with one another. Good communication should always be honest and not sarcastic. The tone of one's voice also plays a huge role in success communication. "Communication is the mortar that holds a relationship together - if it breaks down, the relationship will crumble. When spouses no longer communicate, a marriage nurtures no one. It is no longer a marriage." (Bellows) Good communication takes a lot of thought and energy on each partner's side. When one side of the marriage is lacking in communication, problems can arise and this is when arguing, fighting, and disagreement starts and can eventually destroy a marriage. In any marriage, it is important that both partners realize and understand the concept of good communication.
Another issue that can determine the success or failure of a marriage is control. Control is when one partner tries to influence the feelings and actions of the other partner. It is also when one partner wants the other partner to be just like him or her. Marriages where one partner is controlling is going to experience a lot of problems and instability. "Your control issues are also triggered by viewing your spouse as an extension of yourself. This perception can result in trying to dictate which clothes your spouse wears, how she wears her hair, who she is friends with, what political views she holds, and what she can or cannot do. While your spouse may initially make some changes trying to keep the peace, you are creating a parent-child dynamic in your relationship that will eventually foster rebellion and resentment." (Watson) In short, no one really likes being told what to do all the time. It is important to have good communication in a marriage, but the couple must be careful that their communication relays a sense of control. If a marriage has a lot of control issues, then the probability of having a success marriage goes way down. Each partner in a marriage needs room to be themselves. Successful marriages are not controlling nor does one partner try to change the other partner. Control most always leads to failure in any marriage.
According to various researchers from around the world, age is another factor than can determine the success or failure of a marriage. In the United States, it is more likely that a couple's marriage will fail if they get married at a younger age. It is estimated that almost all marriages that take place before the couples reach twenty years old are doomed for failure. One must make sure they are ready for marriage both physically and emotionally. Research shows that the later one waits to get married, the higher the success rate of the marriage. According to McManus, a marriage counselor at North Greenville, the younger the couple is when they are married, the less chance they have of staying together. "Seven out of 10 teenage marriages fail," said McManus. Teenagers are fascinated by idea of having someone special to love them and take care of them. Most teenagers start to develop interest in the opposite sex between 11 and 13 years old. However, many teens have the illusion that marriage is forever and all they need is the love to survive. They rarely are able to see the whole picture of marriage. They often do not think about all of the other situations and elements involved in a marriage such as working, being responsible for the other person, having children and all of the struggles that can come into a marriage. This is why the teenage marriage failure rate tends to remain high.
A person's education level can sometimes influence the success or failure of a marriage. Researchers have found that the more education a couple has about marriage, the more likely they are to be successful in the long run. Many churches and community agencies around the United States have formed marriage counseling and education courses for people who are seeking to get married. Such classes are opened to educate the couple about struggles, events, and issues that could result from the marriage. They educate the couple about things that are not normally thought about by a couple in love such as paying bills, sharing ones assets, and life after marriage. "Most couples just don't realize that good, skill-based pre-marriage education can reduce the risk of divorce by up to thirty percent and lead to a significantly happier marriage, according to marriage research. It can also reduce the stress of the pre-wedding period. Just a little effort now can make your odds a whole lot better over the long run." (Marriage Success Training)
During a time of economic recession, downsizing, and financial difficulties, many marriages fail as a result of poor financial planning. One of the most common things that married couples fight over is money. There is never enough money and one partner usually ends up blaming the other partner for their economic struggles. Many married couples fail to plan their finances together and this can greatly affect the success or failure of a marriage. "Planning together enhances the possibility of getting along together. there will be no suspicion from either side and the children will also learn the act of interdependence on important issues like money handling." (Sorbande). Money is one of the leading causes of disagreements in a marriage and many times money problems will lead the couple to divorce court.
Common beliefs and common interests in a marriage is yet another factor that can influence the marriage success rate. After conducting studies, researchers have discovered that when a married couple shares a lot of the same beliefs and interests their relationship strengthens and the success rate tends to be higher. "Two opposite "value" or belief systems can cause a variety of problems in a marriage like: Infidelity, over-sensitivity, lack of intimacy, excessive fighting, confusing and unclear communication, not enough quality time due to busy schedules, insolvable children issues, and inability to find the real source of conflict." (Bilatta) Research shows that it very important for the married couple to share the same beliefs and interest in order to avoid conflict. The more beliefs and interests that are shared, the more like the marriage is going to be successful. In general, people get along with each other and are happier when they have the same common likes and dislikes.
In today's modern society is very common to see an inter-racial relationship between two people. Cultural conformity is another factor that researchers have discovered that determines the marriage success and failure rate. Research shows that the divorce rate for inter-racial or inter-cultural marriages tends to be higher. This may be partially due to a lack of understanding of the cultural differences and backgrounds of each partner. People who come a different culture generally have a different set of beliefs and customs that the other partner may not be fully aware of and in turn, may cause problems. On the other…