1. Couples are waiting until they are older to get married

The average age of couples getting married has increased significantly in the past 35 years. The average age of couples getting married has jumped from 24 years old in 1980 to an average age of 32 in 2014. In the last 10 years the average age levelled out suggesting that it will not increase much further in the next few years. This shift could be caused by the decrease in social pressure for young people to get married early and start a family – young couples are now more commonly encouraged to spend longer with each other before tying the knot. As such, couples are usually more mature and sure of their relationship when they do get married.


2. Decline in both marriages and divorces

The increase in the average age of marrying couples may have had an impact on the marriage and divorce rates – along with other social changes. There has been a 73% drop in the number of couples getting married since the rate peaked in 1971. The downward trend has continued more recently, though it looks to be slowly levelling out. Divorces are also on the decline. Between 1985 and 2004 the divorce rate in New Zealand has been mostly stable. However, since 2004 there has been a 30% drop in the proportion of couples getting a divorce. It could be that this is a delayed reaction to the drop in the marriage rate.


3. The ‘seven-year itch’

This is the common theory that a marriage is at its weakest at around the seven year mark. At this point in a marriage couples can start to lose interest in and feel dissatisfied with their marriage. The statistics do show support for this theory. Approximately 25% of all marriages that end have been between 5 and 9 years long. The next highest proportion (19%) is marriages which were between 10 and 14 years long. There is also an observable pattern that the longer a marriage – past the 10 year mark – the less likely it will be to end in divorce.


If you are going through a divorce or separation and would like to be helped through it, contact Jeremy Sutton to book a one hour consultation.

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