PROCARE Supports SA Marriage Week
Take part in SA Marriage Week on 1 – 7 September
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More than four in ten marriages in South Africa end in divorce before they get to celebrate their 10-year anniversary.
Participate in SA Marriage Week 2018 from 1 to 7 September to ensure your marriage doesn’t become a part of this statistic.
The latest figures from Stats SA shows that 44.4% of divorces in 2016 were from couples whose marriages lasted less than a decade. The highest divorce rate was among couples that were married between five and nine years. This is a cause of concern and with Marriage Week 2018 around the corner, it is time to refocus your attention on the health of your marriage. Make sure that you and your partner don’t lose sight of your goal of making your marriage work.
What do the latest numbers show about marriage fever?
According to the 2016 statistics, the number of South Africans getting married rose by 12.3% compared to the previous year, with 37.1% of these marriages happening in the Gauteng region. This is good news, especially considering that millennials appear to be more cautious about walking down the aisle.
The average age of men when they get married is 36-years-old, but figures show that brides are younger when they tie the knot. Whether they are more courageous and optimistic or less focused on their careers is up for debate, but where the average age of women getting married in 2015 was 34-years-old, this dropped to an average age of 32-years-old in 2016.
South African couples can still be categorised as ”traditional” regarding age differences, with 76% of grooms in 2016 being older than their brides. Only 16% of men who got married in 2016 were younger as the women they married. The majority of men aren’t following in Prince Harry and his Meghan’s footsteps, though – 94% of men who got married in 2016 were exchanging vows with women who haven’t been married before.
Now for the bad news
Where 2015 saw 25 260 divorces, 2016 had 25 326, which is an increase of 0.3%. So, how does the divorce statistic of 2016 compare to previous years? When you consider the divorce figures over the past 13 years, the numbers show that 2005 was the year that the most divorces took place (a staggering 32 848!) The lowest divorce rate was in 2011 with 20 980 cases of divorce.
In 2016, the average age at which men and women divorced remained unchanged – 44 and 40 years old respectively. The latest statistics show that women are initiating divorces slightly more than their male counterparts and that 55% of divorces impact children under 18-years-old. The effect of divorce on children is enlightening. Research shows that children of divorced parents are more likely to be behind their peers academically, behaviourally and psychologically.
When taking race into account, the numbers show that the marriages of Caucasians have the shortest lifespan, with 22.6% of Caucasians’ marriages barely reaching the five-year mark. In 2003, 40% of South Africans getting divorced were Caucasian and 24.3% were Black, but these numbers did a complete 180° in the latest figures. In 2016, 42% of divorcees in South Africa were Black and 24.8% were Caucasian. During the thirteen-year period that was studied, the divorce figures among Indian, Asian and Coloured groups stayed more or less the same.
Rising divorce rates are a worldwide trend, with an American couple getting divorced every thirteen seconds. But it’s the South African statistics that make us uneasy.
Advice for the challenge
Clinical psychologist and sexologist Wilmé Steenekamp admits that the demands of society are always changing, making changes in marriages unavoidable but she adds that humans as a species have evolved to adapt to different conditions.
“Communicate things that are bothering you and state your needs clearly. Negotiate with your partner on how you can meet each other’s needs. Plan how you will continue to sustain and improve your relationship. Both parties in a marriage have equal responsibility in committing to the success of the marriage. Both partner’s needs are important and valid, which is why honesty and negotiation are the keys to success.”
Wilmé says it’s important for a couple to ask: “What is our goal for our marriage?” Then you need to do what it takes to stay focused on achieving that goal by firstly focusing on yourself and secondly by working on the marriage.
When a challenge or hurdle arises, ask yourself: Is it really worth throwing in the towel now?