I recently ran across some data indicating that previously married women were more likely to say no to remarriage than previously married men. According to the study 1,361 currently divorced or widowed adults aged 18 and over were asked if they would like to be remarried. Of the women in the study 15% said yes, 27% were not sure, but a whopping 54% said NO. When looking at the male perspective, men were more open to the idea of remarriage. This data was part of an article written in November 14, 2014 by Pew Research entitled, “Four in Ten Couples are Saying I Do Again. “
In the study, previously married included those who were either divorced or been widowed at least once. Remarried is defined as getting married after being divorced or widowed.
Since I have been happily remarried now for 13 years, this data disturbed me. Why? I coach divorced women and stepmoms and my hope and prayer for them is that they would someday find happiness in marriage regardless of what happened previously. However, when I began to ask myself the same question, I would probably find myself in the 27% who were not sure if they would marry again. Even after being divorced, I still believe in marriage and God’s design for families. I don’t think I would say no, but I would be concerned that the older I got, that the odds would be stacked against me.
In the Bible, Proverbs 18:22 indicates that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” So we know the man finds a good thing, but what’s in it for married women? I searched high and low for a scripture similar to Proverbs 18:22 for women, my research turned up the following. Ephesian 5:25 instructing men to love their wives and Proverbs 31:10 which indicates that an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels. In the 5th chapter of 1Timothy, there are instructions about the care of widows. I also found several scriptures indicating women as wives should be submissive (Ephesians 5:24) and how they should act. Titus 2:3-5 (ESV) puts it this way: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
So why are women not interested in marriage a second time? Here are the top 3 reasons women say NO to remarriage.
Women are saying “I want to be in charge of my life.” Some women find being in charge of their own life very liberating. Especially after raising children and perhaps sacrificing so much for their former spouse or children, they enjoy being able to make their own choices and do what they want to do when they want to do it.
2. Fear of Failure
In the case of divorced women, some are afraid of failing again and don’t want to take the risk. In the case of widows, what if I give up benefits received and social security and the new marriage doesn’t work out? The data on remarriages doesn’t help in that 60% of remarriages are slated to fail.
3. Step Parenting
Life as a stepparent can be extremely frustrating especially for stepmoms. Some women don’t want the hassle of raising somebody else’s kids. Data suggests that remarriages with children have a 70% chance of failing.
Out of curiosity, I polled a few of my own friends and here’s what I found. The single, never been married friends between the ages of 40-50 are interested in finding love and marriage and want the chance at love. However, my divorced friends are hesitant about marriage. Some said if they found true love and really were confident that it would work out, then maybe they would marry again. Others said maybe if he had grown children or if they didn’t feel like his children or ex would be a problem. A few said the older they get, the less interested they are in getting married and besides they like having the space and freedom to do what they want to do.
I did find a few who have been married before and really want to get married again. Here are the top 3 reasons women say YES to remarriage.
What do you think? How would you answer the question? Would you consider remarriage if you are divorced or widowed?
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach