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How to Avoid Divorce, According to Science

How to Avoid Divorce, According to Science

Many people have heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Surprisingly, this figure is only true when comparing a given year’s divorces to that same year’s new marriages. However, when you consider the data in terms of total number of people to ever get married versus the number of total divorces, the figure is actually much lower. When considering the data this way, the divorce rate has actually never been higher than 42%. Surely this comes as a relief to married couples, as well as those looking to get married, but science offers even more insight into this societal tradition. New figures and studies from Randy Olson show us better than ever what factors are important in helping your marriage last. Whether you wish to keep your marriage a happy one, or are just beginning this relationship journey, the following eye-opening statistics offer a glimpse into the best ways to make a marriage last.

Before examining these graphs, it is critical to understand how they are compared. From Randy Olson’s website, the authors state that they “chose one category as the ‘reference point.’ That means that all of the other categories are compared to that category.” This simply indicates that every percentage displayed is relative to the category marked “Reference Point.”

Household Income

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    The first indicator in whether or not you are more likely to have a divorce is your household income. Since money problems are often serious sources of contention in relationships, perhaps this is unsurprising. Compared to those making $0-$25,000 a year, those making more are incrementally less likely to get divorced.

    Concern for Appearance and Earnings

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      Another factor in how likely you are to get divorced is how much emphasis you put on your partner’s earning potential and good looks. If how much your partner makes is a concern, you are 18% more likely to divorce than those who don’t care. If you are concerned with your partner’s looks, you are 40% more likely to divorce than those who don’t. More than any other, this category speaks to how vital it is to love your significant other for who they are.

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      Religious Attendance

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        Religious affiliation is also an important role in your likelihood of divorce. Compared to those who do not attend church, those who sometimes attend are 10% more likely to divorce, while those who attend regularly are 46% less likely to divorce.

        Honeymoon

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          Having a honeymoon turns out to be much more than just a cultural tradition. Couples who have a honeymoon are 41% less likely to divorce than those who don’t.

          Wedding Attendees

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            Similarly, those who invite large numbers of friends and family to their marriage ceremony are less likely to divorce than those who don’t include family or friends.

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            Cost of Wedding

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              On the other hand, how much money you spend on your wedding has the opposite effect. As larger numbers of people at the wedding might suggest that spending on your ceremony is a good thing, this matrix should not be ignored. Since the more you spend on your wedding actually indicates a higher chance of divorce, these two categories considered together instead suggest that large groups of genuine well wishers are more important than paying for an enormous expensive ceremony.

              Length of Time Dating

              marriage-stability-dating

                Finally, the last indicator of your likelihood of divorce is how long you date your significant other before the marriage. Unsurprisingly, the longer you spend with someone before marrying, the less likely you are to divorce. While these indicators in no way reflect the health of a given relationship, they offer some insights into the best approach to marriage if you’re in a healthy relationship you hope will stand the test of time.

                Featured photo credit: Adrian Dreßler via flickr.com

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                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

                Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

                Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

                Conflicts are literally everywhere.

                Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

                Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

                Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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                Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

                Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

                Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

                The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

                Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

                Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

                How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

                Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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                Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

                Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

                How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

                Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

                Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

                Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

                How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

                Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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                Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

                Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

                How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

                Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

                Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

                Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

                How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

                Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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                Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

                Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

                How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

                Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

                Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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