“Sliding” into marriage increases divorce risk by up to 50%

Couples who “slide into marriage”, because of family pressure are up to 50 per cent likely to divorce than those who marry for love, finds a major new study from Marriage Foundation.

The study, Attitudes towards marriage and commitment looked at 2000 adults who had ever married. We then focussed on a smaller cohort of 905 couples who married for the first time after the year 2000 in the era of online dating. They were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with each of twelve reasons for why they might have got married.

Those who said they “felt they had to marry due to family pressure” – i.e. due to SOCIAL PRESSURE – had a significantly higher probability of divorce at just 34 per cent compared to 23 per cent of couples who did not identify these reasons. Put another way, couples who tied the knot due to family pressure were 50 per cent more likely to split up.

Those who agreed that their marriage “just kind of happened” – i.e. SLIDE into it – had a 29 per cent probability of divorce over the duration of the study compared to 22 per cent of those who disagreed.

Both of these findings take into account gender, age at marriage, occupation, where the couple met, whether they had done some form of marriage preparation or signed a prenup, how much their wedding cost, how many guests they had, and whether one of them earned more than the other or was better educated than the other.

In contrast, those who were more intentional about their marriage, who agreed that they married “in order to build our life together” – i.e. as the CORNERSTONE of life together – were more likely to stay together. They divorced at an overall rate of just 24 per cent compared to 37 per cent among those who did not agree. Even after taking background into account, these couples were still significantly more likely to stay together, with a 23 per cent probability of divorce compared to 33 per cent for those who disagreed.


Here you can download the Research Briefing Paper as a PDF and the Press Release where it is available.

Media Links

Sunday Telegraph – Couples who marry because of family pressure 50 per cent more likely to divorce

Mail on Sunday – Generation prude: no sex until we wed


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