Portland Marriage Counselor Studies the Recent CDC Marriage Report

May 23, 2012 by

As a Portland marriage counselor, I was interested to see what the new CDC report on First Marriages in the United States had to say. What it revealed was that co-habitation and out-of-wedlock births are the new norm, and it showed the difficulty that stepfamilies have in finding long-term success. This isn’t new information, but it is always nice to have further research as confirmation.

Portland Marriage Counselor: What Else Does the Study Say?

So cohabitation is normal, but what effect does it have on marriage? Couples who live together but are engaged have no extra risk of divorce – but those that were not engaged were less likely to reach 10 or 15 years of marriage. In my next blog, I’ll go further in depth on this topic.

Another new norm is out-of-wedlock births – which are increasing very rapidly. 40% of new moms are now unmarried. It is so widespread that it cannot be accounted for by socioeconomic issues. This may be, in part, because there is less of a stigma for having a child if you are not married. However, the babies that result are more likely to have low birth weights, be preterm, and die in infancy, and research has shown that children do better when raised in two-parent families. Research also shows that whether the two parents are straight or gay makes no difference.

The study also covered the difficulties suffered in first marriages to someone who has been divorced previously. The general advice that you can take away from the study: women should avoid marrying divorced men, particularly if they have children. Because who one falls in love with doesn’t follow the rules of common sense, couples need the tools to assure that their marriage will last.

Many assume that second marriages have better odds than the first, perhaps because they believe people were not matched appropriately originally. But unfortunately, stepfamilies don’t have very good odds for long-term survival. If you switch partners, your odds of success go down – not up.

This lends weight to the fact that marriage is not just about finding the right partner, it’s also about learning “how to do” marriage. That’s why it’s so valuable to work on making your current union stronger. Marriage education can help increase your happiness and the longevity of your relationship, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort! I encourage you to seek help from a Portland marriage counselor.