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Religion Makes Divorce Less Likely


Couples will often try many things to reduce their risk of divorce. They may marry later in life or avoid living together. One thing that could impact one’s marriage is their religion.

But it’s not just being religious that makes a married couple less likely to divorce. It’s the cohabitation part, and religious people are less likely to cohabitate.

What’s the Deal With Cohabitation?

Most couples are told that they should live together before getting married. That way, they will get to know their partner’s way of living. They’ll get to uncover any quirks or deal breakers before they get married.

However, living together is not beneficial for a marriage. Even though 70% of couples cohabitate before marriage, studies show that cohabiting before marriage comes with an increased risk of divorce.

Religion influences decisions on cohabitation. Even though those who are religious tend to marry at earlier ages—before the recommended age of 30—their marriages tend to be more stable because they didn’t live together before getting married.

What This Means

When studying religious marriages, there are two questions that come to mind:

  1. Do religious couples form their marriage differently?
  2. Do religious couples who marry in their 20s have the same odds for divorce as non-religious couples in their 20s?

First, let’s look at the data. Religious women are about 20%  less likely than their secular peers to cohabitate in any given year. By age 35, 65% of non-religious women had cohabited at least once, compared to less than 50% of religious women.

Religion also allows for more of what are called direct marriages, which are marriages that occur without any premarital cohabitation. These marriages mirror the “traditional” relationship promoted by many religions. So overall, religion influences not only whether or not a couple will cohabitate, but also the age at which they will marry. Since they go from dating to marriage, the age of marriage tends to be younger.

Despite this, there is also a lower risk of divorce among married religious women. For married women who are not religious, the annual divorce rate is around 5%. For religious women, it’s 4.5%, so it’s slightly lower. Given a woman’s economic background and career, a religious woman is roughly 10% less likely to divorce within the first 15 years of marriage compared to a woman who is not religious.

Despite the risks of marrying young, religion and other lifestyles that motivate earlier marriage do not always make divorce more likely, since they discourage cohabitation. Plus, marriage based on religion may come with some benefits. For example, religious communities might provide support to married couples through interventions. They might even offer financial support in times of hardship.

Seek Legal Help 

Religion can impact one’s marriage in good ways. However, any marriage can end, despite a couple’s religious beliefs.

If your marriage is heading for divorce, seek legal help from Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. We can guide you through the process. Fill out the online form or call 954-764-4330 to schedule a consultation.

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