Starter marriage

Happy ever after? pic: ruachtova.org

The average American is about 4 years young than the average German when he/she first marries.  In general, Americans marry younger than their Western European counterparts (stats here).   This has led to the phenomenon of the starter marriage – a first marriage that ends in divorce (ideally) before the couple has kids.

The term is a play on the term “starter home” (also very American) describing a often smallish and older house that a young couple, individual, or family can afford to buy.  The starter home gets ditched as soon as the owners can afford something bigger, newer, nicer, or in a better location.  And the same seems to happen to the starter marriage.

Starter marriages last on average eight years.  The divorce rate is highly contested but is somewhere between the lower 40 and 50%.  It doesn’t really matter whether it is 43% or 49% – the chances for a first marriage to last are similar to winning in roulette when better on black or red.

Reasons for starter marriages seem to range from “I have dreamt about my wedding ever since I was a little girl and now I am finally doing it”, to “we’ve ben together 3 years so we better get married” to “we are going to be this great power couple and make it big.”

Not judging here – just glad I skipped the starter marriage and went straight for the grown-up version.

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