Texans just can’t seem to stick together. That’s what the divorce statistics suggest at least. Of the about 800,000 divorces that happen in the US every year, about 125,000 take place in Texas. That’s more than 15 percent of all divorces in the country. As a means of comparison, Texas has about 27 million residents or a little under 10 percent of the overall population. So, with less than 10 percent of the people, we make up 15 percent of the divorces.
What makes people divorce so often in Texas?
The simple answer is Texans just like getting married more than other folks. The marriage rate is also higher here than elsewhere, which of course leaves room for more disagreements that lead to more breakups.
A deeper and more controversial answer may lie in the deep religious values of the Lone Star State. Though the connection is hard to draw directly, the fact many Texans are against premarital sex may mean they marry earlier. Earlier marriages mean there is greater pressure on the couple. Both parties probably have less income. Their job status may be more up in the air. They may not have reached the same education level as those who are older. They may, of course, also not know exactly what they want yet.
All of these added pressures are not necessarily going to doom any particular couple, but they make it more likely a marriage might fail.
Add to that the fact that those who have been divorced are more likely to remarry and divorce again, and Texas’ high divorce rate begins to make sense.
To combat this issue, Texas may need a change in culture as much as anything else. If more emphasis were put on a few points, the numbers might go down over time.
For instance, more emphasis being put on marrying later may make sure marriages are started on sturdy ground. That does not mean Texans need to give up on their religious values regarding premarital sex; it just means more effort needs to be put into encouraging larger courtships that remain chaste.
A greater amount of disapproval for divorce might also discourage those who are quick to jump out of marriages to try and stick with them longer. Right now, divorce is seen as so commonplace; there’s little taboo about it anymore. That is surprising considering the past controversy of that choice. Though we do not want to return to a period when people are incapable of getting out of bad relationships, encouraging more effort to be put into saving marriages can only be a positive for those involved.
It is worth remembering, as well, that divorce doesn’t only affect the two people in the partnership. Children can be seriously psychologically harmed by messy divorces. Broken homes are just that, broken.
We want to see less of that in Texas, and although it would be nice if it could all be solved by law, it’s much more likely the change will have to come from each of us.