December 11, 2017

Vicki Larson: Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce?

Marriage and divorce rates in the US, 1990-200...

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Vicki Larson: Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce?.

“People assume children are the glue that holds a marriage together, which really isn’t true. Kids are huge stressors,” says Scott, head of the Childless by Choice Project whose documentary on childfree couples was just released. “Despite that, there is a strong motive to stay together. The childfree don’t have that motive so there’s no reason to stay together if it’s not working.”

This article is great, really layered and probing. It answers a lot of questions about who is “childfree”, why, and what the impact of such status on their marriage may be. However, there may be some confusion, or even unintended/inaccurate conclusions, as all couples without children are lumped into the “childfree” category, including couples frequently categorized as “childless” (those who want kids but cannot conceive) that “make up the bulk of the childfree” in this story.

As I read the article I wondered how many of the divorced couples were simply victims of a decision to marry too early. According to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, the rate of divorce among people that marry before 25 is astounding. I also hoped for statistics comparing older married couples. How do those who CHOOSE not to have kids compare to couples with empty nests at the same age? When the decision  for parents to divorce can be made without complicating child rearing, like the childfree by choice, then who APPEARS to be more successful or happily married? (Not that remaining married is an accurate indicator of “success”) When I was in college, my parents finally divorced, and there was a rash of divorces among my friends’ parents as well.

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  1. Hey, thanks, Brian.
    You are right — according to the Center for Disease Control (2002) via

    “Divorce is more likely when women marry at a younger age (48% of brides married before age 18 divorce in 10 years, compared to 24% married at age 25 or later), … had a child before marriage or within 7 months of the marriage ….

    “Second divorce is more likely if the woman was under 25 at the start of the second marriage (47% of under 25 versus 34% of over 25) … who had children (32% second marriage divorce for women with no children, 40% for with wanted children, 44% for women with unwanted children),….

    “It’s better for your relationship to be educated, religious, living in a good neighborhood, from a two parent home, and have no children”

    I don’t know of any research on the questions you ask but I imagine we’ll see them since many Millenials say they don’t want kids (7 percent) or are unsure (19 percent), as I state in my article.

  2. Great stuff Vicky. Thank you. We’ll keep track of what you are doing and look forward to more of your writing, especially regarding the childfree. In the meantime, I wonder what you think the top causes of divorce among the childless and childfree are? whenever I here that money and sex are the top 2 reasons for divorce, I have to admit that I immediately think having fewer children would cure both problems and make couples more happy. Yet, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see statistics showing similar causes among the childfree.

    Please feel free to post links directly to our “Why No Kids” Facebook page in the future. BG


  1. […] Vicki Larson: Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce? ( […]

  2. […] inclinations, no kids for bringing us another compelling story, and an appropriate follow-up to the earlier WNK piece by Vicki Larson:  Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce? Vicky is a great researcher and thinker, and certainly a conversation starter. She has responded to […]

  3. […] Vicki Larson: Are Childless Couples Headed Toward Divorce? ( […]

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