51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse
According to the NYTimes, a new study confirms that for the first time ever, more women are living without a spouse than with one. Younger women are marrying later in life, older divorced and widowed women wait longer to remarry and only about 30% of black women live with a spouse. While most women will be married at some point in their lives, they will spend about half their adult lives unmarried. About 47% of men are living with a spouse.
Another popular article in the NY Times, Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying gives a clue to some of the issues that couples fail to ask. Things like: Do we like each other's families and friends? Is there anything one of us refuses to give up? What about children and careers? Who's going to maintain the house and the checkbook? Perhaps the divorce rate would be lower if couples knew the answers to these questions before they said, "I do." But I think perhaps couples already do know the answers to these questions and that's why less people are married. I think young people today are more realistic than people my age were, although we were more realistic than our parents.
Speaking as someone who has endured 30 years of marriage thanks to modern pharmaceuticals, I would have to say that even if we had answered and agreed with all the questions 30 years ago, we are not the same couple we were back then. We agreed on a lot of things at the time and one was to wait to have a family until we both saved up enough money to buy a house. But over time, some of us change and some stay the same. In some instances, both partners change. In our case, one of us was open minded enough to change with the times and entertain new ideas and trends while one of us has not changed one bit. The person who was once deemed awesomely cool is now deemed an old fogey. The person whose bohemian and eclectic behaviors that were once deemed charming are now viewed as annoying and flighty. We eventually disagreed on how to raise our son, but it worked out pretty well. Now we both have separate lives, separate interests, separate rooms, separate money, separate senses of humor and separate vacations. Our son will graduate from college this year and move on. The house is paid for. I am sick of living on the same island for more than 50 years. The mainland calls me. I like the west. He likes New England. A new future awaits us.
Maybe one of us should have taken the advice of the lady in this NY Times article, What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage and learned to train the spouse as one does an animal. I don't think so.