A Philosopher's Blog

40/60/75

Posted in Relationships/Dating by Michael LaBossiere on February 17, 2009

I received a copy of The Five Love Languages for Valentine’s Day and have been reading it. One interesting fact that the book presented (without any source being cited, my academic side noted) is that the divorce rate for first time marriages is 40%, that of second marriages 60%, and that for third marriages a scary 75%.

Since my first marriage ended in divorce, this got me wondering a bit about my chances of success at a second marriage. Since I teach critical thinking, I know that I cannot infer that my chance of success in a second marriage is a mere 40%. After all, even if the number given in the book is correct, that is a general statistic and it is perilous to reason from statistics to what is or will be the case with a specific individual. After all, there are factors that make a marriage more or less likely to succeed and my chances will depend on such factors.

Of course, one general “factor” that is present in a second marriage is that the first marriage did not succeed (laying aside cases involve a person being a widow/widower) for at least one person. As such, the person in question might very well have qualities and traits that lead to the failure of the first marriage. As such, they are likely to fail once again. In the case of the third marriage, the set includes people who have (probably) failed twice before. Hence, they are even more prone to failure.

So, one reasonable explanation for the increased failure rate in marriages is not that there is failure built in to second or third marriages. Rather, the people who are involved in them will  include people who have already showed a tendency to fail in marriage. And, the set of people in each successive marriage (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) will contain more and more repeat failures.

In my own case, I think I can avoid or prevent what caused my first marriage to fail. Obviously, most people think that-otherwise there wouldn’t be any second or third marriages. :)

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6 Responses

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  1. kernunos said, on February 17, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    You will fail to stay married at a 95% probability rate because you will probably marry a Liberal woman. Don’t get hung up on statistics, I’ve seen about ten thousand different versions of marriage statistics.

  2. magus71 said, on February 18, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Marriage caused my marriage to fail…

  3. wolfeyes said, on February 18, 2009 at 8:50 am

    And what is it that makes you think you can do in your second marraige to “avoid or prevent what caused my first marriage to fail.” I would really be interested to know if you really think you know something that the rest of us don’t know.

    If so, share it. At least 40% of us are interested, if your statistics are correct.

    Or I guess the once most interested are the bigger statictis, the 60% who might remarry for the second time. Hmmmm

  4. Michael LaBossiere said, on February 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Wolfeyes: Well, what makes me think that would be various psychological factors. As far as what would lead to success…that will be my next blog. :)

    Kernunos: Numbers tell the truth. Numbers lie. I think I’ll have some pi.

  5. kernunos said, on February 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    “Numbers tell the truth. Numbers lie. I think I’ll have some pi.”

    I like that I can imagine a good Irish jig to it whilst swingin’ my shelaleigh.

  6. mjolnir367 said, on February 19, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I have nothing against the numbers. But from School Experience. Letters and Numbers do give a shocking first impression but if you dig deeper you can find out if it is true or not. For example, I got an A from my previous course in Fall in Instrumentation. I had a teacher that can hardly teach the subject but I worked hard to receive that grade. Now if you tell me what I’ve learned I would tell you, “Nothing”. So basically I did not really deserve an “A” or I can put it as my knowledge of that course is not an “A” type.

    I hope I made myself clear enough :P.


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