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Marriage Statistics: The Biggest Surprises About Love, Sex, and More

Updated: Apr. 24, 2023

Your numbers guide to navigating the murky waters of relationships.

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Men fall in love faster

Men are much more likely than women—48 percent vs. 28 percent—to fall in love at first sight. Here are some more marriage statistics that might surprise you—like how long the average couple waits before getting married.

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Guys crave romance

Thirty-three percent more men than women around the world say it bothers them “a lot” that their significant other isn’t more romantic.

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Well-off couples fight more

The richest couples surveyed were less likely to be happy than those with less money. In fact, couples who earn $20,000 or less argue less frequently than couples who earn $250,000 to $500,000.

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Unhappy couples are still hot for each other

According to the marriage statistics in this survey, 57 percent of those in unhappy relationships still find their partner extremely attractive. Try one of these 19 relationship boosters to kick your love up a notch in just one hour.

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Sleepless in Seattle could break you up

More than 33 percent of men and women say they have watched a TV show or movie that affected them so much they considered breaking up.

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A good “teammate” doesn’t necessarily make a good partner

Those who put their partners in this category were most likely to describe their relationships as slightly unhappy. These pieces of marriage advice from the 1950s still apply today.

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“Til death” is alive and well

Nearly 60 percent of both men and women who were unhappy with their relationships say they would still be happy to spend eternity with their partners. If that sounds good to you too, read up on this marriage advice straight from the happiest couples.

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Couple in a restaurant looking at each other and sharing a milk shake with two straws
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Married couples share similar DNA more often

It is already well established in the science community that people tend to marry others who share similar characteristics such as religion, race, etc., but you may also share a similar genetic code, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study. Researchers examined the genomes of more than 800 white American couples and looked at the places in their DNA that are commonly known to differ amongst humans. The team discovered that married couples had fewer differences in their DNA than two randomly selected people from the same population. Plus, the tendency to pair up to a genetically similar spouse was about one-third as strong as the tendency to go for someone with the same educational background. Here are the 19 things your marriage counselor secretly knows about your relationship.

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More men remarry than women

A failed marriage or death of a spouse does not mean you’ll never walk down the aisle again. Men, in particular, remarry more often than women. The Pew Research Center analyzed the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data to find that 64 percent of previously married men said, “I do” again compared to 52 percent of formerly married women. One reason for this gap could be that more than half of previously married women don’t want to ever marry again compared to 30 percent of men, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. Here are some unrealistic expectations about marriage.

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Divorce rates are declining

You’ve probably heard the often-cited statistic that divorce rates are on the rise. Well, research shows that U.S. divorce rates have actually been declining since its peak of 40 percent around 1980. In fact, the chances of a first marriage lasting at least ten years were 68 percent for women and 70 percent for men, according to the National Survey of Family Growth. For the 20-year mark, the probability decreases to 52 percent for women and 56 percent for men. Another estimate claims that three-quarters of couples married in the 1990s would at least hit their 15-year anniversary compared to the 65 percent of couples who were hitched in the 1980s. Don’t miss these insightful marriage tips from grandmas to abide by in your own relationship.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest