Marriage Facts
Marriage Facts

63 Blissful Marriage Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published November 22, 2016Updated September 7, 2019
  • The term “marriage” derives from the Latin word mas meaning “male” or “masculine.” The earliest known use of the word in English dates from the thirteenth century.[1]
  • Due to jobs, kids, TV, the Internet, hobbies, and home and family responsibilities, the average married couple spends just four minutes a day alone together.[7]
  • The Talmud is very strict about banning extramarital sex—but also enforcing marital sex. The Talmud even lays out a timetable for how often husbands should “rejoice” their wives. For men of independent means, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for ass-drivers, once a week; for camel-drivers, once in 30 days; and for sailors, once in six months.[5]
  • Over 75% of people who marry partners from an affair eventually divorce.[8]
  • Interesting Marriage Kiss Fact
    An average woman kisses about 15 men before getting married
  • A marriage ceremony typically ends with a kiss because in ancient Rome, a kiss was a legal bond that sealed contracts, and marriage was seen as a contract.[2]
  • The Oneida colony established in New York in 1848 advocated “complex” or group marriage in which every woman was married to every man. They also practiced “scientific breeding” where parents where matched by a committee according to physical and mental health.[5]
  • Traditionally, bridesmaids would be dressed in similar bride-like gowns to confuse rival suitors, evil spirits, and robbers.[2]
  • Marrying younger than age 25 dramatically raises the divorce risk. Also, the divorce risk is higher when the woman is much older than the man, though the reverse isn’t as strong a factor.[12]
  • At Italian weddings, it is not unusual for both the bride and groom to break a glass. The number of shards will be equal to the number of happy years the couple will have.[2]
  • The word “wife” is likely from the Proto-Indo-European root weip (“to turn, twist, wrap”) or ghwibh, which has a root meaning “shame” or “pudenda.”[15]
  • The word “husband” is from the Old Norse husbondi or “master of the house” (literally, hus “house” + bondi “householder, dweller”).i[9]
  • Some scholars trace the word “bride” to the Proto-Indo-European root bru, “to cook, brew, make broth.”[2]
  • Interesting Empty Nest Fact
    Marriage can get even more complicated once the kids are gone
  • A 2008 study found that marital satisfaction improves once children leave home. However, if marital problems existed before, an empty nest often reveals those otherwise masked issues.[7]
  • The term “groom” is from the Old English guma, meaning “man.”[6]
  • In three states—Arkansas, Utah, and Oklahoma—women tend to marry younger, at an average age of 24. Men’s average age is 26. In the northeastern states of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, men and women wait about four years longer to marry. The U.S. average age for women is 25.6 and for men, 27.7.[14]
  • A person’s level of education influences the age at which they marry. Couples tend to marry later in states with higher numbers of college-educated adults, while the opposite is true for states with lower education levels.[14]
  • Nevada, Maine, and Oklahoma have the highest percentage of divorced adults. Arkansas and Oklahoma have the highest rates of people who have been married at least three times.[14]
  • The probability of a first marriage ending in a divorce within 5 years is 20%, but the probability of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within 5 years is 49%. After 10 years, the probability of a first marriage ending is 33%, compared with 62% for cohabitations.[7]
  • Throughout most of history, marriage was not necessarily based on mutual love, but an institution devoted to acquiring in-laws and property and to provide the family additional labor forces (by having children).[5]
  • History of Marriage Fact
    Marriage wasn't always about love

  • Washington, D.C., has the lowest marriage rate in the nation.[3]
  • Approximately $6 billion in revenue is lost by American businesses as a result of decreased worker productivity linked to marriage hardship. Employees in a happy marriage, in contrast, tend to increase a company’s bottom line.[7]
  • CNN reported that the Great Recession was the biggest stress on married couples in the past 60 years.[10]
  • A New Woman’s Day and AOL Living poll found that 72% of women surveyed have considered leaving their husbands at some point.[7]
  • Married couples tend to have fatter waistlines, which can lead to a decrease in sexual attraction and general health. Additionally, a spouse’s chances of becoming obese increases by 37% if his or her partner is obese.[7]
  • People whose marriage has broken down at the time they are diagnosed with cancer do not live as long as cancer patients who are widowed, have strong marriages, or who have never been married.[11]
  • In ancient Greece, Solon (638-538 B.C.) once contemplated making marriage compulsory, and in Athens under Pericles (495-429 B.C.), bachelors were excluded from certain public positions. In Sparta, single and childless men were treated with scorn. In ancient Rome, Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) passed drastic laws compelling people to marry and penalized those who remained single.[13]
  • Kids and Marriage Fact
    Having children may make you miserable, but you’ll be miserable together
  • While couples with children are less likely to divorce than childless couples, the arrival of a new baby is more likely to bring more stress and emotional distance than new happiness. Nearly 90% of couples experienced decrease in martial satisfaction after the birth of their first child.[7]
  • Adults who are childhood cancer survivors are 20-25% less likely to marry compared with their siblings and the general American population.[11]
  • Stress associated with divorce affects the body’s immune system and its ability to fend off the disease. The health benefits of remarriage are reduced the second and third times around.[7]
  • A white New Orleans man in the late nineteenth century transfused himself with blood from a black woman he loved so he could overcome anti-discrimination laws by claiming he was black and marry her.[14]
  • One nineteenth-century New York legislator insisted that letting married women own their own property attacked both God and Nature.[5]
  • Just two years after marriage, an estimated 20% of couples make love fewer than 10 times in a year.[7]
  • One in three American marriages is “low sex” or “no sex.”[7]
  • The number of marriage therapists in the United States has increased 50-fold between 1970 and 1990.[7]
  • In the United States, over 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 74% of third marriages end in divorce.[7]
  • Marriage does more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex, or even children, say Wake Forest University psychologists.[7]
  • Compared to singles, married people accumulate about four times more savings and assets. Those who divorced had assets 77% lower than singles.[7]
  • The average married couple has sex 58 times per year, or slightly more than once a week.[7]
  • Interesting Marriage and Sex Fact
    Sexual activity is a key factor in whether couples remain satisfied with their marriages later in life

  • Married elderly people are more likely to maintain daily health-promoting habits, such as exercising, not smoking, eating breakfast, and having regular medical check-ups.[7]
  • More than friendship, laughter, forgiveness, compatiblility, and sex, spouses name trust as the element crucial for a happy marriage.[7]
  • Eighty-one percent of happily married couples said their partner’s friends and family rarely interfered with the relationship, compared to just 38% of unhappy couples.[7]
  • Eighty-five percent of couples have had premarital sex.[7]
  • Nearly 60% of married adults have had at least one affair.[7]
  • The cost of an average wedding is $20,000. The cost of an average divorce is $20,000.[7]
  • History of Marriage Fact
    According to the Code, at marriage, a woman’s sexuality became the property of her husband
  • Hammurabi’s Code (ca. 1790 B.C.), an ancient Babylonian law code, contains some of the oldest known and recorded marriage laws. These early laws defined marriage as a contract that paradoxically served to protect women and restrict them. According to the Code, a man could divorce his wife if she could not bear children or of she was a “gadabout” who humiliated her husband in public and neglected her house. Additionally, she could be “pitched” in a river if she committed adultery.[7]
  • Words form only 7% of our communication with anyone, including spouses. Tone of voice accounts for 38% and body language is responsible for 55% of the messages spouses receive from each other.[7]
  • A 15-year-long study found that a person’s happiness level before marriage was the best predictor of happiness after marriage. In other words, marriage won’t automatically make one happy.[4]
  • Researchers found a huge decline in happiness four years into a marriage with another decline in years seven to eight. In fact, half of all divorces occur in the first seven years of marriage, which gives rise to the popular term “the seven-year itch.”[4]
  • More than two in five Catholics marry outside their church, twice as many as in the 1960s. There are at least one million Jewish-Christian marriages in the U.S. Two in five Muslims in America have chosen non-Muslim spouses.[4]
  • Married people are twice as likely to go to church as unmarried people.[7]
  • Half of emotional affairs become sexual affairs.[7]
  • Important Marriage Fact
    Couples rank sharing household chores as third most important for a successful marriage, next to faithfulness and fulfilling sex
  • Women who report a fair division of housework were happier in their marriages than women who thought their husbands didn’t do their fair share. Wives also spent more quality time with their husbands when they thought the housework was divided fairly.[4]
  • Over 40% of married couples in the U.S. include at least one spouse who has been married before. As many as 60% of divorced women and men will marry again, many within just five years.[7]
  • Birth order can influence whether a marriage succeeds or fails. The most successful marriages are those where the oldest sister of brothers marries the youngest brother of sisters. Two firstborns, however, tend to be more aggressive and can create higher levels of tension. The highest divorce rates are when an only child marries another only child.[10]
  • The number of men and women age 65 and older cohabiting outside of marriage nearly doubled between 1990 and 2000.[7]
  • Because Virginia law required an ex-slave to leave the state once freed, one freed woman petitioned the legislature in 1815 to become a slave again so she could stay married to her still-enslaved husband.[5]
  • For many centuries, the Catholic Church argued that contraception was a sin and made the wife no better “than a harlot.” Up until 1930, many Protestant churches agreed.[5]
  • One seventeenth-century Massachusetts husband was put in stocks alongside his adulterous wife and her lover because the community reasoned she wouldn’t have strayed if her husband had been fulfilling is marital obligations.[5]
  • Research points to certain characteristics that are most often linked to infidelity, such as being raised in a family where having affairs is considered normal, having a personality that values excitement and risk taking over marital stability, having coworkers and friends who believe affairs are acceptable, and feeling emotionally distant from one’s spouse.[12]
  • Interesting Gay Marriage Fact
    Same-sex marriage has happened throughout history with differing levels of acceptance
  • The first recorded mention of same-sex marriage occurs in Ancient Rome and seems to have occurred without too much debate until Christianity became the official religion. In 1989, Denmark was the first post-Christianity nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage.[1]
  • No sex in a marriage has a much more powerful negative impact on a marriage than good sex has a positive impact.[4]
  • Modern Western marriage traditions have long been shaped by Roman, Hebrew, and Germanic cultures as well as by doctrines and traditions of the Medieval Christian church, the Protestant Reformation, and the Industrial Revolution.[1]
  • Levirate marriage, where a man is obligated to marry his brother’s widow if she had no sons to care for her, is sometimes required in the Bible (as in Deuteronomy) and sometimes prohibited (as in Leviticus).[5]

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