Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

Were divorce rates in the 1950s lower because marriages were happier?

In the 1950s divorce rates were lower. While superficially this fact appears to fit into the "happy days" the 50s were remembered for, deeper analysis reveals a different picture.

Related Questions

Experts and Influencers

Suggest Expert Quote (click to expand, no login required)
Experts In Media

Penna Dexter    Radio Host
The divorce rate in 1982 was more than double that of the 1950s. It had grown in the fertile ground tilled by the feminists’ message that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” ... The Newsweek story—headlined Splitsville on the cover—describes divorce in terms of the cost to human happiness. But divorce also exacts a price from society in dollars and cents. ... All this is evidence that God’s plan for the family was very wise. Marriage was His idea.
06 May 2008    Source

Experts In Media

Po Bronson    Journalist & Novelist
Mostly Disagree
People get divorced for good reasons. It used to be that wife-beating wasn't a reason to leave your husband. In some cultures, it still isn't. (And in case we think those cultures are so distant – it wasn't until 1992 that the U.S. Catholic Bishops issued a statement that women didn't have to stay married in an abusive relationship – because Catholic wives thought (or were being told) that they had to stay and save their marriage.
01 Jan 2008    Source

Experts In Sociology

Barbara Whitehead    Sociologist
In the 1950s most Americans believed that parents should stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children. The assumption was that a divorce would damage the children, and the prospect of such damage gave divorce its meaning. By the mid-1970s a majority of Americans rejected that view.
01 Apr 1993    Source


Add Your TakeOnIt (click to expand, no login required)
1 Point      Gina      13 Dec 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
The typical family back in the 1950's consisted of a man that worked and financially provided for his family, and a woman that took care of everything else (kids, house, etc)--an "old fashioned unit." If a man was unfaithful or violent, many women turned a blind eye because they had to. They were "kept" therefore made it work the best they knew how. In 1982, women were more educated and could do for themselves (financially). While they might want a man as a companion, they don't need him. They were standing NEXT to their spouse instead of behind him. There are many other reasons why I disagree with the posted question, but I think the bottom line is that women were developing a mind of their own and no longer were "stuck" in a male-dominated relationship.

1 Point      the27th      09 May 2010      Stance on Question: Disagree
There wasn't no-fault divorce in those days! It was legally more difficult to get divorced.

0 Points      NotAnExpert      18 Jun 2009      Stance on Question: Agree
Look at the divorce rates.. but more importantly look at the rates of people having sex before marriage. If you had sex with 30 girls before you met your wife then you'd prolly get divorced too. Blame it on women and men being unhappy but being forced to stay married.. sorry don't buy that "expert" opinion. I buy the opinion that people today don't know love if it hit them on the face. People today have sex like rabbits, and are torn.

If you only ate vanilla ice cream your whole life, what would your favorite ice cream be? Vanilla.

What if you ate baskin robins ice cream 31 flavors. what would your favorite be then? Chocolate? no maybe vanilla this week. how about chocolate AND vanilla, and strawberry. Maybe we need toppings.

Of course people are unhappy with marriage. They bond sexually within the first 3 weeks of dating and then they wonder why 3 years later the husband / wife turned into a horrible person. If you dated a guy / girl for 1 or 2 years and didn't sleep together you would have a much better idea of why you loved them. if you have sex in 3 weeks you are emotinally bonded without knowing who or what they really are.

and look, right around the time of the 1970's when free love was rampart.. look at the divorce rate skyrocket.


0 Points      racheal      04 May 2017      General Comment
I have to say you really dontknow much about the 50s.No the reason is that woman had to stay in their marriages due to social pressures. woman cared a lot more about "what will people think" then they do now. You are not speaking of that era.

1 Point      nick      13 Sep 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
I agree with you however there is an underlining issue, America started losing her son' and daughters to the romantic ideas of freedom and escapism from the wasp culture in the 20'throught literature and theater by the 50'rockin roll tv's cinema and all the gadgets of the modern age absorbed our grandparents and parents. who by that time were teens and all ready tasting the different flavors of 31. as a result the culture was in decline cultivating the seeds of what would manifest it' self 20 years later in the 70'. free love pre-marital sex drugs & rock and roll orgies etc. this intern would once again spawn seeds in the land and add to the wind of seeds that would manifest a world wind of disaster affecting every home and family found on the US soil. how so? because the 1970"s was an extermly confusing and apathetic time for that culture and produced no real answers for our parents inward turmoils that the 50ties gave them. and that generation gave birth to ours in which already before I was born marriages were at a 1 out of every 2 end in divorce ratio. which brings us right to our generation one brought forth in the Meyer and filth of the lost generation before it looking for answer and experimenting with all kinds of destruction on the road to no where. so what is the out look and future for what is left of our American family? looking to the American cultures of the past we know that the moment things changed in the Nucleus of society it would intern irrode the foundations for generations to come producing an absolute society of hopelessness and destitute, striped of any future.

God Word says when you sow to the wind ye shall reap the world wind!

1 Point      Anonymous      15 Jun 2010      General Comment
I lived with my husband before I married him. It has been 10 years, a house and two children and I still love him and our sex life gets better every time. I am not saying we are June and Ward but what ever happen to really loving some one with all your heart and sticking it out through the rough stuff and I am not talking about abuse of any kind but certain things that a marriage can be faced with if you love yourself enough and love your partner enough then you can make it. Young people in the USA are too fickle they want the new, now!!!

0 Points      Brenda      22 Mar 2012      General Comment
I definitely agree with you..I wish I saw more marriages like yours :) I however am 30 and single, and have been so most of my life. ive dated a lot though :/ I am well educated, attractive, kind to other others, and have a good job, so its not like I cant find a man. Its just I am waiting for the right man. Someone kind, has similar interests, is attractive, has a job, is not pretentious, etc. I dont want someone just because im a little lonely which i think people do a lot. I think so many people these days get married for the total wrong reasons, and way to fast, thus high divorce rates. Like they are afraid to be alone, or it may be the many red flags seen early on in the relationship that they simply chose to ignore. It seems you got married for the right reasons and waited a good amount of time, i admire that. Also, the fact that people cheat boggles my mind. I myself would try to work it out first. And if it wasnt possible,leave the relationship or marriage, because things dont always work out. But i guess a lot of men and women do not have that mentality. I do not have children, but I for one think as the adults, we should teach or children respect for other human beings as well as respecting them selves. When you respect and love your self, youll more than likely find a quality partner. And when they are old enough teach them that it is never ok to cheat on someone and teach and talk to them what love is supposed to be. Respect, love, compromise etc. Also, teaching them that they do not have to be in a hurry to the alter , a good thing takes time. Then you will have raised someone who is capable of a successful marriage and a good human being all around. And if you are already an adult and you are a cheater or have issues in general, there is nothing wrong with a little counceling or therapy. The healthier you are in your state of mind, the healthier and lasting your relationship will be.

0 Points      Tanya      30 Sep 2011      General Comment
I agree with all of you. Marriage is too easy to get out of now, so people don't stick it out anymore; they get divorced for "differences" Don't we all have differences.

I do also believe that we, as a culture have sex before actually knowing the person we are sleeping with. We as women sometime fear that he will leave and go elsewhere, but if he is really worth it, and often if he isn't, the exact opposite will occur. He will do what God created men to do: hunt.

Which brings me to the next point in my case. We as women need to quit calling, chasing, and "buying" men. When we do this, we take his essence away. We take away from him what makes him a man.

We've all heard the statement "men want what they can't have"

So how does always being there work with the natural order of things?

0 Points      Elise      03 Dec 2015      General Comment
I totally agree with Tanya. I have noticed every time I start spending money on a man he turns into a controlling abusive man with no respect for me. I dont think a woman should go around wanting everything she doesnt need and expecting a man to pay for it, but a man who provides for his woman respects her more, cherishes her more as the one he wants to take care of and make happy. Especially when that woman respects and appreciates all he does for her, and does not take advantage of it.
Sex should not be for just anyone. I wish people would not have dismissed the commandments as being old fashioned and adopt the new sleep with whoever you want, no one would buy a car without test driving it first mentality. It has destroyed us. This is why people have no clue what real love is anymore. They ignore the hard work and choice of love, and move for the immediate lust and when it gets old they toss it away and find another. We cant respect others because we dont respect ourselves enough to wait.
As for the comment of marriage only lasting because women coudnt get out of their abusive relationships, that just shows how far we have fallen. Rather than see how well things worked back then, we make excuses we assume to make it look like today is a better way. Abuse was not the norm back then. And the majority of the wives wanted to stay, they were strong enough to stick with their marriages and worth through problems, they didnt hit a problem and run away, they stood strong and accepted their man unconditionally and if that man had faults, she stood by his side and helped him through it as a partner should.
No wonder people these days dont trust each other, dont fully commit to each other through marriage before sleeping with them, no wonder there are prenups made... everyone wants perfection and they want to point the finger everywhere but at themselves. Its sad.