We like to think that marriage is a beautiful thing, and that getting divorced is the worst ending anyone can have. But the truth is, the divorce rate today is so high that we shouldn’t be shocked if someone we know tells us they’re getting a divorce.
The map above lets us compare the divorce rate around the world. We can see that a lot of the areas are coloured red, indicating a divorce rate of 40% or above, which means a high divorce rate is now a worldwide phenomenon.
As of 2016, the Maldives has the highest national divorce rate, with 10.97 couples out of 1000 people divorcing each year. Not far behind is the US at 3.6 divorces per 1000 people each year. This makes us wonder: why do we want to get married in the first place? Do the reasons for getting married also explain why so many of us regret later on?
In fact, there may be some ‘right reasons’ and ‘wrong reasons’ when it comes to marriage…
Initially, people get married because it somehow locks themselves up from temptations which can be bad for them in the long term.
Sometimes, we get sudden, strong feelings that compel us to do things that we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes, we lose control and make the wrong decisions. We get scared when that happens, and we wish we had a way to stop ourselves. This is perfectly normal. Psychologists even believe that some of us were born like this:
You may have heard of a psychology experiment called the ‘marshmallow test’. What it tells us is that some children have a harder time resisting the temptation of instant happiness, even if they are told waiting will bring more satisfaction at a later time. And, unfortunately, their lack of impulse control seems to continue to affect them when they grow up, making them less successful in life.
This perhaps explains why affairs and one-night stands—the regrettable mistakes, usually happen on the spur of the moment. It is human to have impulses, but we need something powerful to help us fight the bad impulses at moments of weakness.
Which is why some people choose to get married: they voluntarily get ‘locked up’ by committing to a marriage, hoping that it would make them feel guilty enough to stay away from their darkest desires when any arise. They want to be reminded of what is important in the long run.