Published on February 24, 2014 | by Caroline Schmitt


Couples who marry young are less likely to divorce

Newlywed couple, Chelsea and David, 07/09/011, London

Chelsea married her husband Dave three years ago the age of 22, just after they graduated from university. [Anna Lee Photography]

Married couples in their early twenties are less likely to seek a divorce than their older counterparts, according to new divorce statistics released by The Office of National Statistics (ONS).

While an overall increase in divorces of all age groups in 2012 indicates that 42 per cent of all marriages end before death, the number of twenty-somethings seeking divorce is at its lowest point since 1963.

In an economic climate where graduate employment in the arts and media is stagnating at a historic low, marrying young can provide creatives with a sense of security that older generations have been able to find in a stable job.

Charlotte Chipperfield is an LCF fashion design and textiles graduate. In summer 2013, she got married to Nathan at the age of 25. Remembering reactions from friends when she told them about their plans, she said: “Some of my friends and class mates reacted with things like ‘but you’re so young, you have so much more to do and see before you tie yourself down’.”

She added: “I can see where they are coming from, but from my point of view, all of the things that I want to do or see in life are things that Nath wants to as well, and it’s always better to have someone else with you.”

Sense of security

Her husband Nathan also underlined the positive psychological effects a stable marriage can have. He said: “When you marry you have such a sense of security and support, knowing you will be with your best friend for the rest of your life. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

The couple have been married for six months and said they have not experienced any “major lows” or “too much pressure” on their relationship. Statistically however, half of all 118,140 divorces in 2012 occurred during the first ten years of marriage.

“Marriage can be hard and when you look around at the other twenty-somethings who don’t have that responsibility, you begin to desire what they have.” Chelsea London Reed

Chelsea London Reed, a commercial music performance graduate from Westminster who works for a music management company, married her husband Dave three years ago at 22. She knew where their relationship was headed once it clicked: “There was nothing crazy about the idea because it was the most natural decision I had ever made.”

Reed, who acknowledges the risk of marrying while still being in the midst of a personal and professional orientation, explained: “You change drastically in your twenties and what you believe you want at 22 might change by the time you are 30. I have actually taken off the past few days from work to reflect on marriage because I was beginning to feel that I wanted out. I was starting to feel that I wanted freedom and independence.”

She added: “Marriage can be hard and when you look around at the other twenty-somethings who don’t have that responsibility, you begin to desire what they have. I think being single is wonderful. I also think being married is wonderful and for someone like me who is up and down, it has provided me with the stability I need to accomplish all the dreams I long for and to make me a healthier, more beneficial person.”

A rough start

While according to the numbers, the couple are now in the stage where they are most likely to get divorced, Reed agreed with the Chipperfields and said that marriage has not only fuelled her and her husband’s creativity, but it has also successfully pushed them both into the music industry, after a rough start.

“One of the best things I ever did for my career was to get married to Dave. It centred me and brought me vision at a young age. We were 22 when we got married; fresh out of uni, jobless, ‘homeless’ and with no money in the bank. When we arrived back in London [after their wedding in Oklahoma], we found a flat and Dave took up a job street fundraising. You know those people in the jackets who try to stop you on the street to ask for money and you ignore them? That was Dave.”

While being determined to look for “salt in our kitchen” until they reach the “epic finish line,” Reed said about the high divorce rate: “I don’t think that all the marriages that hold up until death should be defined as successful and I also don’t think all the marriages that end in divorce should be considered unsuccessful. Life is a little bit greyer than that.”

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