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Study: the divorced may be a source of wisdom for married couples

Washington married couples who are seeking advice about staying happy in their unions might be well served by talking candidly with people for whom marriage did not work out. Recently, the National Institutes of Health released findings from their "Early Years of Marriage Project," which has studied marriage and divorce for more than 25 years.

373 couples in their first year of marriage in 1986 and between 25 and 37 years of age at the time form the core group in the study. Since the study began, almost half of the couples in the study divorced.

Dissolution of marriage can be a challenging and complicated legal process. Equitable distribution of marital property, child support, child custody, spousal support and other issues can be very difficult to resolve to the satisfaction of both parties. Divorce can have a dramatic effect on future relationships.

The lead investigator for the study specifically sought to find out how divorce affects future relationships. Interviewing 210 of the participants about their previous relationships, the study found that more than 70 percent of these people interviewed are in new relationships and that more than 40 percent of them have married again.

The divorced participants in the study provided some interesting guidelines for success in a new marriage. For instance, a lack of strongly positive and strongly negative associations with a former partner seems to set divorcees up for a better chance at a healthy relationship in the future.

The study also noted that a majority of the divorced participants in new relationships chose not to share financial expenses, indicating that conflicts about money in previous relationships were formative experiences.

Statistically, it is well established that around half of all first marriages will end in dissolution. The outlook for second marriages might be worse. This study will likely continue to provide important insights into the details of why some marriages succeed and others fail.

Source: msnbc.com, "Your divorced friends may give the best marriage advice," Joan Raymond, July 25, 2012

1 Comment

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