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By America's #1 [Link Removed].
We have said it before and we now say it again – the divorce rate in the United States of America is NOT 50%!  It is more likely, closer to 40%, perhaps, slightly less, according to some estimates.  Here are the facts.

According to Brad Wilcox in "The Evolution of Divorce" in the Fall 2009 issue of National Affairs, "The divorce rate fell from a historic high of 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women in 1980 to 17.5 in 2007. In real terms, this means that slightly more than 40% of contemporary first marriages are likely to end in divorce, down from approximately 50% in 1980. Perhaps even more important, recent declines in divorce suggest that a clear majority of children who are now born to married couples will grow up with their married mothers and fathers."

This number clearly approximates what we have been espousing for several years.  The clear fact of the matter is this – the divorce rate in America has been going DOWN for nearly 30 years!

What is worse is that many use the inaccurate 50% divorce rate notion to push for pre-nuptial agreements.  They argue that "since so many people get divorced," signing a pre-nuptial agreement is only prudent and sensible.  It is insurance against a failed relationship according to them.

To us, this is like saying, "Let's never get married because our chances of failure are 40% out of 100%."  Or, "Let's not fall in love at all because we might fall out of love in the future."  Pretty silly, huh?

We believe that Pre-Nuptial Agreements are a bad idea for the most part!  Just imagine, telling someone that you love him or her, but you don’t trust them!  To us, this is analogous to having two separate checking accounts in a marriage—one for him and one for her.  In both cases it becomes a case of yours and mine.   Or, how about this, "I love you with the following conditions."  Whatever happened to US?  We?  Love without conditions?

Frankly, we don’t believe that the true meaning of “marriage” allows for this sort of duplicitous relationship between two people who say they love each other.  True love means true love.  You can’t have a bonifide loving and successful marriage or relationship when you have a Pre-Nuptial Agreement!  People who invented this concept don’t know anything about real love and real relationships.  Only people with an agenda would encourage something so anti-love, so anti-relationship, and so anti-marriage.

The sad news—in the United States, prenuptial agreements are recognized in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.  This is a sad commentary on the state of love, marriage, and relationships in America.  Why do we need them?  What ever happened to pure, unconditional love!  We believe it still exists!  It is still the norm, thank goodness!

According to Wikipedia, "There are two types of prenuptial agreements: a marriage contract for people who are married or about to be married, and a cohabitation agreement for unmarried couples. A variation for people who are already married is a postnuptial agreement."  We think all three are bad for love, bad for relationships, and bad for marriage.  Here's why.

In our research with successfully married couples for over 26 years on six of the world's seven continents, we have found a number of recurring and pervasive themes.  Foremost among them is an abiding trust in and for each other.  They trust each other completely and without conditions.  People who truly love each other do so without conditions.  They have unconditional love – as it should be.

Like most things in successful relationships, the little things matter.  Caring deeply for someone – loving someone – is only as real as the honesty of the relationship between the two people who profess to love and care for each other.  

We ask you these questions – Do you truly and deeply love someone else?  Do you care for another human being more that you care for yourself?  Is there someone in your life that you would die for?  Is there someone you would like to spend the rest of your life on Earth with?  Is there someone you share your deepest and darkest secrets with?  Is there someone that you cannot imagine life without?

If the answers to all of the above are the same for both of you, then you are completely and wonderfully in love.  People like you do not need a pre-nuptial agreement.  What you do need to do is spend your lives together.  What you do need to do is cement your relationship with each other.  What you do need to do is all of the simple things required to make your marriage or relationship work.  What you don't need to do is sign a pre-nuptial agreement!  Let love reign!

[Link Removed] in love and marriage.  Love well!

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
Authors of the best-selling book and multiple-award winning book [Link Removed]
Winner of the 2009 Mom's Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships


Doctors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Jan 21, 2010
    • Lady FL,
      Sorry to hear that his EX has caused such grief for your family, but it is wonderful to know that you have your life together and that both of you know what is really important in love and life.
      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Jan 23, 2010
    • I truly and deeply love my husband and we have a wonderful marriage.  I trust him with my heart, my life, my children.  But NOT my money.  We were both devastated financially by previous spouses and we decided when we got together that our finances would be strictly his/hers, no ours.  And it has worked wonderfully well for us.  It has eliminated those arguements and bickering over money.

      I don’t think a prenup is a good thing for a marriage, but I think financial counseling ought to be mandatory for couples contemplating marriage.

      On a seperate note, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your columns even if I don’t comment on them. happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Kelly-Williams, M.A. wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • To be honest, I always get a little nervous when anyone touts themselves as America’s #1 anything expert.  That aside, I couldn’t disagree with you more about prenups.  My strong opinion comes from working with couples in second or subsequent marriages.  Prenups are necessary for most, mainly to protect the children.  Second marriages have a 70% divorce rate.  And while it may not seem romantic or very loving, marriage is a business and so is divorce.  Finances are a reality that must be dealt with.  It is the wise person that takes care of themselves and their children.  

      Additionally, various studies conflict about the percentage of divorce in first time marriages.  What we do know to be true is that in the next few years, there will be more stepfamilies than not.  Prenups are an unpleasant but prudent reality for many.  This should be kept separate from the loving intention to commit to a partner for life.  I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who are kicking themselves for not being smarter in the financial arena.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • I’m not married but if I were to choose to do so, I’m totally in agreement with a pre-nup.
      Gone are the days where you can believe and trust 1oo% that all will be well. Been there, done that, got burned. It’s not happening again.
      Mine would read something along the lines of “There’s yours, Mine, and then Ours...” and probably, “If you cheat, I get everything.”
      LOL



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • While your comments are sound legally, what does that say about trust?  Having researched and interviewed thousands of successfully married couples on six continents of the world for the past 27 years, we can tell you that the foundation of these successful relationships is built first and foremost on trust.  They trust each other with their sacred honor, their money and their very lives.  If you don’t have that level of trust with each other, then entering into marriage is a dicey proposition to begin with. When a prenup is what you think about first, how can any relationship develop on trust?  

      With that said, the only time it makes sense to consider a prenup is when complicated second marriages with children from a previous marriage come into play.  Your point is a good one, second marriages have a whooping 67% chance of failure and this statistic is not improving like it is for first marriages.

      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Kelly-Williams, M.A. wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • Liz and Charley, this is the place you and I can agree.  First time marriages are a different issue, although there are some who simply have no choice because of trusts that have been established by some wealthy families.  And it does seem like like an oxymoron to making a lifetime commitment and have a prenup in place.

      And as you are well aware, if there is no trust, there is no intimacy and minimal level of commitment.

      It should also be noted that third marriages have an even more dismal rate of failure.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • We forgot to respond to the comment about America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts.  We don't claim to be that, Google and all other search engines have determined that.  Just google in "Love and Marriage Experts" and we come up #1 through #7.  This is because we have spent 27 years of our lives researching and interviewing successfully married couples on six continents of the world in more than 40 countries. Our work resulted in multiple award- winning books-- Golden Anniversaries, Simple Things Matter, and Building a Love that Lasts .  Just thought you would want to know.

      Liz and Charley



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Jan 26, 2010
    • That’s all great. :D Congrats!! estatic

      For me though, I’d just be smart and protect myself just in case. People change and things happen. I know I can trust and be trusted. Plan B’s just a good idea in this day and age is all.



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