Getting married for love is still a relatively new concept, and those who say "I do" rarely assume they’ll get a divorce down the line. However, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), divorce rates in England and Wales have soared for the first time since 2009.
There were 106,959 divorces in 2016 among opposite-sex couples, which was a 5.8 percent rise compared with the year before. The ages of those with the highest divorce rate were those in their mid-to-late 40’s for men and 30 to 39 for women.
The biggest surprise came from the over-50’s, who had the highest increase in divorce rates last year. Over 19,000 men aged 55 and above divorced their partners in 2016, while over 13,000 women of similar age decided to end their marriages.
In 2016, relationship counsellor Peter Saddington told The Independent why some marriages tend to fail, saying it could be due to money problems, affairs, difference in communication, and difference in sexual libido. The main reason a divorce was requested in this latest study was for "unreasonable behavior", with 51 percent of women and 36 percent of men citing this as their reason.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of relationship charity Relate, told BBC: "We know that money worries are one of the top strains on relationships and it may be that rising levels of household debt and stagnating pay growth could be contributing factors."
He also adds that their research suggests that many marriages could have been saved had couples sought help, such as counseling.
Nicola Haines from ONS commented to The Telegraph on the results, saying: “Although the number of divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales increased by 5.8 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, the number remains 30 percent lower than the most recent peak in 2003; divorce rates for men and women have seen similar changes."
Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation, says In a statement that the study doesn’t give a clear view of the downward spiral in divorces. “The headline rise in divorces during 2016 conceals the reality that the long term trend in divorce continues to head downwards. The most recent couples to complete five years of marriage – who got married in 2011 – have experienced 42 percent fewer divorces than their counterparts who married twenty years earlier in 1991.
“So today’s newlyweds are doing better than any couples who married since the early 1970s."