Divorce is a complicated thing, but economists suggest that we can boil down a person’s chances of a future divorce using two questions:
- On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being worse and 5 being better, how do you think your level of happiness would be different if you and your partner separated?
- How do you think your partner’s level of happiness would be different if you and your partner separated, on the same scale?
The first question is fairly predictable ”“ a score of 5 suggests that divorce is definitely in the cards. But your answer to the second question, as well as whether your answer is correct, could be an even more potent predictor of divorce.
How These Two Questions Can Predict Divorce
The study, conducted by University of Virginia economics researchers, surveyed 3,547 couples, recording their answers to the above questions. They were asked twice, six years apart, during which 7 percent of the couples divorced. For those couples who answered the first question with a 1 or a 2, the divorce rate was lower than usual. For those who answered 4 or 5, the divorce rate was higher than normal.
On the second question, couples who had “incorrect perceptions” of the other party’s happiness were overall more likely to divorce (8.6 percent, compared to 7 percent). But for those who had seriously incorrect perceptions (meaning their perceptions of their spouse’s second answer were off by two points) had a stunning 12 to 14 percent divorce rate. It suggests that, more important than your own happiness in a marriage, an incorrect perception of your partner’s feelings toward the relationship could be more of a predictor of divorce. The study shows that, as the adage goes, communication is key to staying together with your spouse.
Whether you are starting a family, have a marital dispute or need help planning for your family’s future, our Denver family attorneys are ready to assist.