When you’re a marriage life coach (that would be me), it’s rare that news of a divorce ever shocks you. Still, I get how and why it caught some people off guard when DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good decided to call it quits, almost 10 years in and right as we were approaching, the year of our Lord, 2022. Per usual, there has been a ton of speculation. All I’m gonna say is marriage remains beautiful, merging two lives is always challenging and before you decide to jump the broom yourself, it’s a good idea to know as much as possible about what you’re getting into — this includes what the stats say about divorce. And intel offers up quite a bit of insight on the topic.
Although I’ve cross-referenced most of these, for the sake of not taking you to a billion different sites, feel free to go here to cite where I’m pulling the majority of this data from. And as you’re going through these 12 points, as a child of a twice-divorced and three-time-married woman, I’ll just say that you definitely should take the decision to get marriedand the decision to get divorcedvery seriously. It ain’t no joke and, contrary to what our culture may want you to thin, it isn’t as simple as…just doing it.
1. 50 Percent of All Marriages Still End in Divorce. Kinda.
Actually, this point is pretty controversial because it depends on who you ask. What is known for sure is, at the very least, about 40 percent of marriages get to the point of standing before a judge to unravel their union, which is still pretty high in my book. I mean, just think about it — 4 out of every 10 couples who pledge “until death do us part” don’t make it to that goal? And don’t get me started on how many people stay yet are unhappy; that definitely takes this up to about 60 percent of marriages not being as healthy and thriving as they should be. It’s quite a sobering thought, once you let it all sink in.
2. First Marriages Typically End Within the First Eight Years, Around the Age of 30 for Most People
So, when do people find themselves wanting to end their marital union? It’s typically around the age of 30 and usually somewhere after the seven-year itch. There is indeed a theory that’s been floating around since forever, that once a couple hits the seven-year mark, all hell can start to break loose when it comes to communication breakdowns, financial woes, intimacy issues, and a host of other things. So, if you are approaching the seven-year mark, my two cents would be to speak with a therapist/counselor/relationship coach — just to be sure that there aren’t any “mouse holes” that need to be “covered up.”
Also, if you are someone who has already been divorced and you are considering getting married again, the stats only go up with each marriage. It’s 67 percent for the second marriage and a whopping 70 percent for the third. My personal take is because a lot of people don’t take the time to take the saying “everywhere you go, there you are” very seriously. Meaning, if you didn’t process what you needed to learn and/or take the time to heal from your first marriage…you’re just bringing “old stuff” into something new; especially if your next spouse is in the same mental and emotional boat as you are.
3. The Average Cost of a Divorce Is a Pretty Nice Vehicle
Cheaper to keep her. You can say about it what you want but two top reasons why a lot of married people find a way to make things last is 1) children and 2) finances. I mean, just paying attention to what Dr. Dre and his ex-wife have been going through is proof in and of itself. And just what is the average cost of a divorce? On average, somewhere around $15,000. Like I said, it ain’t cheap.
4. Divorce Can Put You in the Poverty Level
Speaking of cheaper to keep her (or him), another thing to keep in mind about divorce is it can literally sink you down to the poverty level. This makes a lot of sense when you factor in the fact that the cost of living only continues to increase, making it easier to survive in a two-income household than one (the average annual wage within the United States is $51,916.27, by the way).
5. People Who Make Less Money Tend to File More
Interestingly enough, people who make over $50,000 tend to file for divorce 30 percent less than those who make under $25,000. While you would think that folks with less money would need their partner’s income more, people with more money are aware that they have more assets to lose. Hmph. It’s amazing how you can figure out how to work things out when you really want to, huh?
6. Couples Who Argue Over Coins Three Times a Week Are in Real Trouble
It always trips me out how, when I’m in a premarital counseling session and I bring up showing credit scores and talking about past spending habits, folks act like it’s an invasion of privacy or something. Umm, when you decide to share your life with someone on as deeply a profound level as marriage, one way or another, they are gonna find out all of that info anyway. Besides, better to be forthcoming before jumping the broom; especially since a leading cause of divorce continues to be financial woes.
And, as you can see with this particular point, couples who argue over money three times a week or more need to see a professional stat — including a financial consultant. Otherwise, they are 30 percent more likely to end their marriage. As far as the kind of money fights that transpire most — debt, different ways of prioritizing money, figuring out how each person feels about the other’s income, determining who to give money to outside of the household and whether or not to have children — are all based on where people are financially.
7. 70-80 Percent of Women File for Divorce
I’ve been knowing this for quite some time and yet, it still trips me out whenever I read it. Mostly because the Bible says that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and so God gave him a helpmate (Genesis 2:18-25). So, to process that most women end marriages, that is really something. I actually also read that within the Black community and among college-educated women, the number jumps to a freakin’ 90 percent.
With so many articles about men who feel pressured to get married in the first place (check out “10 Men Told Me How They Feel About ‘Marriage Pressure’”)…let’s just say that I plan to circle back around to this topic sooner than later.
8. Massage Therapists Get Divorced More. Optometrists Get Divorced Less Often.
Reportedly, 60 percent of all divorces transpire between the ages of 25-39. As far as occupations that are more likely to end their marriage, marriage therapists (38.2 percent) and bartenders (38.4 percent) are pretty up there. So are telemarketers (49.2 percent), practical and vocational nurses (47 percent), and flight attendants (50.5 percent). And who is on the lower end of divorcing? Optometrists sit at 4.1 percent. Clergy at 5.61 percent (I personally think it’s higher but…that’s for another time). Surprisingly (at least, to me), the military is 28.3 percent, education is 30.1 and finance is 33 percent.
9. The Divorce Rate Is Significantly Lower When You Have Kids
Whenever people ask me if I think married people should stay together for their kids, my answer is usually somewhere along the lines of, “If you think your kids won’t be affected, significantly so, by your divorce, you are delusional”. Personally, I am a fan of a husband and wife putting their marriage before their children because when kids know that their parents are in a good place, so are they. That said, to divorce without considering how it will affect your children, long-term, is pretty selfish. At this point, about one-quarter of children in this country live with a single parent, the poverty rate of single-mother households is basically 25 percent and, when you get a chance, check out Everyday Health’s “What Are The Effects On Children Of Single Parents?”. It’s quite sobering.
Anyway, I’m thinking that a lot of married people know some of this because there is a 40 percent chance that people with kids will divorce less than those who don’t have them. On the flip side, people who have children prior to getting married have a 24 percent higher risk of ending their marriage than those without kids prior to saying “I do.”
10. If Your Parents Were Happily Married, Your Divorce Risk Decreases. If Your Parents Get Married Again, Your Divorce Rate Significantly Increases.
This stat doesn’t shock me one bit. Back when my late fiancé was alive, when we would have a disagreement and I would be like “So you wanna break-up then?”, he would always — and I do mean, always — respond along the lines of “Why is that always your go-to? Damn, Shellie.” I was wired that way because that’s how I saw my parents handle things. It’s the PTSD of divorce that doesn’t come up, nearly enough. That’s why I get that if you come from a happily married household (like my fiancé did), your chance of divorcing decreases by 14 percent. Meanwhile, if you have stepparents, your chance of divorcing increases. By how much? A whopping 91 percent, chile. That’s…a lot.
11. Divorce Attacks Health Like Smoking Does
I can’t tell you how many times, when the topic of divorce comes up from a client who is contemplating it as I’m trying to get them to get the weight of what they are considering, I will hear “I know plenty of people who did it and turned out just fine.” We’re resilient by nature and so yes, divorce can be survived like anything else in life. Yet again, if someone told you that making that decision didn’t affect them, oftentimes in ways they didn’t predict, they are lying to you — I don’t care who it is.
In fact, it’s been reported that around one-third of people who ended their marriage regret it after the fact. Not only that but there is intel that also reveals that divorce can impact our health in a way that is similar to smoking cigarettes (the stress alone makes this make sense). You actually increase your death rate by 23 percent over married folks when you divorce. Goodness.
12. Marriage and Divorce Rates Are Decreasing
Over the past couple of years, word on the street is that divorce rates are dropping. That would be dope if it wasn’t tied into the fact that marriage rates are decreasing too. Last fall, The New York Times published an article entitled, “The Married Will Soon Be the Minority” that offered up some insight as to why. From a spiritual and biblical perspective, you’ll never get me to cosign on the belief that marriage is obsolete.
What I will say about the current decline, though, is hopefully more people are getting that marriage and divorce are nothing to play with. Both are serious. Neither should be entered into lightly. Both have lasting consequences as, hopefully, these stats have revealed…before any of you consider filing during the most “popular” month of the year — which is now.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith went to social media to share their Thanksgiving holiday with followers. The pair were surrounded by family and friends Thursday, and both posted how grateful they were to be with the ones they loved. Yet this comes on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s whirlwind of negative opinions and critics forecasting her book would be a flop.
Despite the negative feedback she received, Worthy, Pinkett Smith’s memoir, still debuted at #3 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list on October 25. The greatest backlash she received was centered around her relationship with Smith and the fact that the two had been living separate lives since 2016.
The commentary about their marriage overshadowed the reality that this book is ultimately about her journey to self-worth and the path she’s had to take in order to get there.
Social media comments about her book tour ranged from, “Me counting all the times Jada woke up and chose to embarrass Will Smith,” to podcasts like The Joe Budden Podcast saying, “Take me out the group chat,” which was a sentiment shared by many celebrities and fans alike. Yet, a point made by comedian KevOnStage proved that even though people say they don’t want to know about the Smiths, they’re secretly interested and want to know more.
Since the Smiths were wed in 1997, people have been fascinated with their marriage, and rumors about their marital arrangement have always been a topic of conversation. People continue to speculate that the pair is gay and swingers, and even new allegations have come out that Smith and Duane Martin shared an intimate relationship at one point.
However, despite their consistent united front throughout their marriage in recent years, Pinkett Smith has borne the brunt of backlash in the couple’s relationship, from her entanglement with August Alsina to Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards to the recent truths she’s shared about the couple’s marriage in her memoir.
Individuals are consistently running to the internet to support Smith and villainize Pinkett Smith, from podcast guests saying things such as “She doesn’t like Will, she likes the lifestyle” to deeming her “mean” or "manipulative" because of her facial expressions and demeanor.
Likewise, when you have hosts of daytime talk shows such as Ana Navarro saying, “I think she’s having a relationship with her bank account,” insinuating Pinkett Smith only shared stories about Smith to increase her book sales, it begs the question of where was this same energy when Smith released his memoir?
In Will, Smith discusses both of his marriages and how, in relationships, because of his upbringing, he needed constant validation and praise from his partners to feel secure. He also shared the reality that Pinkett Smith never wanted to be married, just as she never wanted the huge estate they share in California, but he wanted to give it to her despite her feelings about it.
Smith admitted to creating this family empire that only further boosted his ego and what he wanted his legacy to be instead of actually asking his family what they wanted or needed. People praised him for his vulnerability and said his book was an inspiration.
So how is it that one book about a person’s family, upbringing, and journey to self is praised, and another is villainized? The glaring thought that comes to me is, does likability often trump accountability?
People love Smith and his “good guy” persona; he’s always been an attractive, charismatic man that people can relate to, so even when he speaks about the way he mismanaged his marriage and family, it’s seen as growth. On the contrary, because Pinkett Smith doesn’t constantly fawn over him and shares how miserable she was in their marriage, she’s the villain.
People still blame her for not stopping Smith from smacking Rock at the Oscars and share their sentiments about how she embarrassed Smith with her entanglement with Alsina. Though this is a celebrity couple we’ve all followed for years, the question must be asked, how much accountability must Black women be subjected to in relationship to their partners' actions?
Why is it that the media is more interested in the marriage between Smith and Pinkett Smith than her childhood, or the fact her memoir consists of writing prompts, meditations, and methods for other women to find their sense of worth?
Could it be that the larger society doesn’t value Black women having the tools to find their own sense of worth? Or is it that Black women are expected to accept whatever is given to them regardless of how they feel or what they want?
The exclusive interview with Eboni K. Williams (@ebonikwilliams) and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant about if she would date a bus driver seems to have a lot of people talking. You can watch her response tonight on #theGrio. Catch the full interview, here: https://t.co/ctxE0zKFWj pic.twitter.com/BhIO52T2fg— theGrio.com (@theGrio) May 2, 2023
When Eboni K. Williams shared that she wasn’t interested in dating a bus driver, the internet blew up with individuals saying that Black women need to be less selective with their dating prospects. The commentary around this conversation shed much light on the reality that this demographic is expected and invited to settle in love if they actually want a life partner.
Black women aren’t often given the space to find their joy, fulfillment, or even self-worth because of the responsibility they’re forced to acquire in order to support their families and communities. Yet, “high value” Black men speak vehemently about Black women’s masculinity and inability to submit. We’re often inundated with podcast guests sharing that they’re not impressed by our success and are uninterested in our aspirations.
Black women, from a young age, are taught to place their community first and cater to the men around them regardless of what they do or how they behave.
We see this when young girls are told to put on pants when male relatives come around, we experience it when domestic violence survivors are encouraged not to press charges against their perpetrators, and we even see it when Black women face backlash for dating outside of their race.
The way Pinkett Smith has been treated since sharing the truth about her life and journey of discovering her self-worth is another example of how the world isn’t receptive to Black women being their most authentic selves.
It’s another example we can hold up to illustrate how Black women are expected to be magical but not human.
Even with this article, I’m sure there will be many who want to argue why Pinkett Smith was wrong in her narrative, but at the end of the day, it was her story to tell, and no one has more authority to share her lived experience than her.
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