The prospect of getting married in 2014 is a daunting one, not only because of the price of the average wedding (roughly $28,000 in 2013 according to CNN), but because of the high rate of divorce in North America.
So who’s going to want to fork out $30,000 to simply split up down the road?
According to a report done by the Family Justice Working Group, Canada’s divorce rate in 2013 was 33 per cent amongst first marriages. Compare that to the United States’ rate of 53 per cent, we Canucks aren’t looking too shabby when it comes to giving up on our marriages.
Still, that’s one-in-three marriages in Canada that end up in divorce. You can have a barbecue with other married friends and know that if you have six couples over, two aren’t going to make it. Is that couple going to be you and your spouse? Hard to say.
But how depressing is that?
In my early 30s, I already have a number of friends who have recently got divorced or are in the process of getting divorced already. It’s an ugly business, especially being this young and if there are kids involved, and as a newlywed and also a child of divorce, it’s pretty terrifying wading into the waters of marriage when it feels like other people’s ships are sinking around us.
Obviously every relationship is different, and throw into the mix children, finances, life-altering situations, sickness, death, etc. and you’ve got one heck of a rollercoaster ahead of you, but the question is, can you hold on forever, or do you decide to let go instead because it’s easier?
According to Stats Canada, more people divorce today because they fall out of love or “grow apart” than people who cite infidelity, and women are more likely to initiate divorce than men at a whopping 66 per cent, while the average duration of a marriage before divorce is 14.5 years.
Looking at the facts, it might be fair to suggest that more women are getting bored or falling out of love after about 15 years of marriage and asking for a divorce.
As a newlywed and a woman, that terrifies me.
Marriage seems hard. You get bored, you grow distant, your eye might wander, you might wonder what it would be like to be with someone else – but I guess that’s where you have to ask yourself if what you have in your marriage is worth working for? Can you even remember why you married that person to begin with, and do you try to fall back in love?
Or, do you become another one-in-three statistic?
In a fast-food era where we don’t have to work as hard to get what we need in life and we feel more entitled to happiness than ever without having to try, divorcing because you “grow apart” seems like just another way to get what you want without having to work for it.
I’ve wanted a once-in-a-lifetime marriage since I was a little girl, and that became more important after my own parents divorced. I know it’s going to be really hard, but that’s a challenge I’m ready to take on. But then again, I’ve been married less than two months. What would I know?
Right before my wedding, I saw a news segment interviewing an elderly Vancouver couple who had been married for 70 years. The reporter asked them, “How do you make a marriage last that long?”
The answer was something along the lines of this:
“It’s not easy, but that doesn’t mean you just give up. You have to work at it. You fall out of love over the years, it happens to everyone, but you work at it and you fall back in love. It’s like a cycle. You have to make each other laugh, talk to each other, and never stop courting each other. It’s the little things that make a marriage last.”
That advice will follow me always, and I hope it will stick with other people who read this who are perhaps struggling in their own marriages. That elderly couple may not be Dr. Phil, but after 70 years together, I think they know what they’re talking about.
“You have to work at it.”