Whilst Australia has seen a declining rate of marriage since 1947 – similar to other western nations – today more than 70% of women will marry in their lifetime, 1 in 5 marrying at least twice, with 4 in 5 couples living together before marriage (an increase from less than 1 in 5 in 1975). Lasting an average of 12 years, 1 in 3 of these relationships will end in divorce, most occurring in their primary producing years, around 45 for men and 43 for women in 2016 (ABS, 2016).
Marriage, however, still confers certain unique benefits. Based on a wealth of academic research, married people tend to have healthier lifestyles, live longer, have more satisfying sexual relationships, have more economic assets, and have children that tend to do better academically and emotionally. When relationships go right, couples who stay together tend to be happier, healthier and ultimately wealthier (Waite & Gallagher 2000).
Conversely, when relationships go wrong, couple distress is strongly linked to problems with individual health and well-being (Lebow et al 2012).
The children of couples who stay together – and therefore have both parents present in the house – are more likely to thrive in their well-being and education (McLanahan et al 2013).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – Marriage and divorces, Australia 2016.
- Waite, L., & Gallagher, M. 2000: The case for marriage. New York: Doubleday.
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