Eli J. Finkel, professor at Northwestern University and the author of “The All-or-Nothing Marriage,” explains one type of marriage that is most likely to end in divorce. Following is a transcript of the video.
Eli Finkel: I’m a psychologist which means that most of the research I do involves things like bringing couples to our psychology laboratory and then videotaping them and coding their behaviours and then following them over time to see how happy they are or whether they break up.
And one of the things that was deeply alarming to me when I did that was discovering just how different marriage rates and divorce rates are among people who are better educated versus worse educated.
It turns out, and I was surprised to find this out, that among people who are college educated, the divorce rates have actually plummeted since about 1980, they have come down significantly since … their high around 1980.
But people who don’t have a high school degree, people who are relatively uneducated have a higher divorce rate than ever, and a lower marriage rate, and when they are married, the marriages tend not to be as satisfying.
And the issue isn’t just that they are opting out of divorce because if they had a better option, if they thought, “Well, I would rather not get divorced,” then that might be totally fine.
But they respect the institution as much as people who have more education, they have the same instincts about what makes for a successful marriage as people who have more education.
What I think is going on is it’s really difficult to have a productive, happy marriage when your life circumstances are so stressful and when your day-to-day life involves, say three or four bus routes in order to get to your job.
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