Exploring Marriage and Divorce Differences Between Genders

It comes as little surprise that, like with many things, there are plenty of differences in the ways that men and women view divorce and marriage. Divorce attorneys can anecdotally share trends they have seen throughout their careers. There are countless factors that lead to separation; common causes can vary geographically, even for places as close as Grand Rapids and Holland. One recently published article explored a number of these differences, citing larger studies that may prove true anywhere.

There were a few interesting notes pertaining specifically to views on marriage, including a higher rate of older men marrying than women. In general, men are more reluctant to get married. On the flip side, more women than men view it as normal to not be married by age 40.

Here are key areas where the gender divide applies to divorce.


One study looked at education level as a factor in marriage and divorce between 1950-2009, finding that more educated women are less likely to divorce. This applies if the woman has a higher education than her husband and if the two have equal levels of education. In marriage studies between 2000-2004, couples with similar education levels were approximately one-third less likely to divorce. Marriages with an education gap between individuals in the 1950s featured a more educated man about 75% of the time. However, between 2005-2009, women were the more educated spouse in 60% of marriages with education disparity.

Initiating Divorce

The overall percentage of women who are divorced has increased significantly over time, with around 15 percent either divorced or separated. Looking as far back as 1920, this number was once around 1 percent. Further research has found that women are initiating as many as two-thirds of all divorces. Researchers have not yet found a clear explanation for this divide. One school of thought is that th modern cultural view of divorce being more acceptable makes women feel more comfortable seeking separation. In some states, however, laws may encourage women seeking full custody to take the first steps toward a divorce.


It is well documented that consecutive marriages are much more susceptible to end in divorce across most demographics. Jumping into another marriage after one ends, however, is usually a much quicker process for men than women. For those divorcing after 45, a third of men wind up remarried compared to only a quarter of women. Again, explanation for this difference varies in theory. Vicki Larson of the Huffington Post noted that it is interesting how many men are comfortable establishing new blended families, especially “considering how many men complain – rightfully so – about paying alimony (often for life) and child support, often for children they can barely see.”

Scribner, H. (2016, October 31). 10 Ways Marriage is Different for Men and Women. Retrieved on November 2, 2016 from http://newsok.com/article/5524765

McKinley, S. (2014, July 24). Wives with more education than their husbands no longer at increased risk of divorce. Retrieved on November 3, 2016 from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-07/asa-wwm072214.php