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Where you have a choice about divorce – God says, “Don’t!”. God says so and so does a recent study by the University of Chicago. It showed couples that who stay in an unhappy marriage and endure it are more likely to be happy 5 years later than those who decide to divorce. The study noted that even if no work is done on the marriage, ongoing problems were often viewed in new perspective over time. And when both spouse worked on the marriage, many problems were solved and communication improved. Finally, if only one spouse worked on the marriage, there was improved happiness in the one spouse despite a mediocre marriage.

Those facts refute much conventional wisdom. They show that married men have more sex than single men. And married women are less depressed than single women.

More recently Waite has shown that divorce does not make unhappily married people any happier. In a study released in July 2002 she and five colleagues analyzed data from the University of Wisconsin’s National Survey of Family and Households. When the adults who said they were unhappily married in the late 1980s were interviewed again five years later, those who had divorced were on average still unhappy or even less happy, while those who stayed in their marriages on average had moved past the bad times and were at a happier stage.

Linda Waite, professor in Sociology, wrote the book, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (Doubleday, 2000), co written by Maggie Gallagher of the Institute of American Values.

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