Just about any time a marriage conversation comes up the old stat gets thrown out, “More than half of all marriages fail.” It’s like they’re trying to convince you that your odds of staying married are about the same as getting struck by lightning while riding a unicorn right after you win the lotto.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 43 percent of marriages will experience some type of “disruption,” meaning a separation or a divorce. This means that 57%, more than half, survive. Still not the greatest odds, but it just means that the odds of your marriage working are slightly in your favor.
Yet even with these less than stellar stats, there are journeys we embark on every day with stats that range from pretty poor to downright abysmal, that seem to get nothing less than widespread societal support and encouragement.
Here’s a list of three things that are more likely to fail than your marriage:
Starting Your Own Business
According to the US Small Business Administration, 34 percent of new businesses will be belly up by year two. The ten year survival rate? 39 percent. Yet how many “Be Your Own Boss” emails do you get in a day? If you scan your junk mail on a regular basis, lots. Even in a sluggish economy, you can’t turn in a circle without seeing a workshop about becoming a business owner and just as many business owner hopefuls jumping to attend.
If “lose weight” is on your list of resolutions for the New Year, you might want to hear this: A whopping 80-95% of those who set out to lose weight next year either won’t do it, or will do it and gain it all back within five years. A report on Weight Watchers showed that only 3.9 percent of weight watchers were still at or below their goal weight after five years. This means that Weight Watchers worked for only two out of every 1,000 people shelling out their 40+ bucks a month for the program. Makes you think that J-Hud’s “Win, Win” song in the commercial, isn’t so much for you, but for the Weight Watchers execs that are #winning.
Graduation and retention rates vary from institution to institution, but on average one in three freshmen starting at colleges won’t return for a sophomore year and the likelihood that a starting freshman will graduate in less than six years is just a little more than 50 percent. The remaining 50 percent have either dropped out or joined the super duper senior society (of which I was surely a part!).
So if you want to be successful in life, you should get married, keep your day job, eat a donut, and drop that student loan money on a hot car instead of spending it on school.
Okay, just kidding. But what it means is that while none of these things have the highest rates of success, there’s no shortage of people starting their own companies, or joining gyms, or taking the SATs with the dream that they might be in that 50 or 40 or even 5 percent that can go the distance.
I’ve rarely heard advice that says don’t start your own business, don’t try to lose weight, don’t get a higher education. What I hear are strategies on how to do all of these things better and smarter. Instead of focusing on the potential for failure, let’s focus on the potential for success, and approach marriage in the same way.
So today’s challenge is simple. Realize that the rate of failure has nothing to do with your success. Decide that you are in the 57 percent and work to keep it that way by making better and smarter decisions in your own marriage every day.
Raise your hand if you’re in the 57 percent! If you’re committed to having a smarter and better marriage regardless of statistics, let us know in the comments!
Get practical tips on making your marriage work even when you’re short on time at Making Love in the Microwave.
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