According to a report published by the US Census Bureau, the average length of first marriages for couples who divorce is 8.2 years. Most California couples read that figure and wonder why such a random number. It may surprise you to learn that 8.2 years isn’t all that random, and there is science behind why the eight-year mark in a marriage proves to be such a difficult time for married couples.
Natural adult development
According to researchers, adults transition from one stage of life into the next in six to 10-year increments. Studies indicate that adults usually go through seven stable years before entering a two or three-year period of uncertainty. Since divorces don’t happen overnight, this natural period of development results in marriages ending after approximately eight years.
The seven-year itch
You and your spouse likely fell in love at the beginning of your marriage because you felt like you “completed one another.” Psychologically, each of you brought something the other needed to the table.
After a couple of years of marriage, you and your spouse develop the routines that become such a vital part of who you are as a couple. This stability provides a sense of security, but that familiarity often creates restlessness as years go by.
At around the seven-year mark in a marriage, one or both partners likely feel stuck in some sort of rut. The things that were endearing at the beginning of the relationship become annoying, and the stability they craved becomes a source of boredom. This is when thoughts about divorce enter the picture.
Researchers say that one or both partners start pulling away by this point. Sometimes this happens through arguments, other times through indifference.
Do these studies mean your marriage will face trouble around your seventh anniversary? Not necessarily. You and your spouse can work together to protect your marriage, allowing it to thrive.