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"I do," but only for the next seven years

Almost no one goes into a marriage with an expiration date. Giddy couples exchange vows and promise to be with each other "till death do us part." But is it naïve to think that the love and devotion a couple has at the altar will last?

There are some new statistics out that couples who split tend to do so at seven years. While the median age of marriages bound for divorce is actually eight years, most people separate at seven. Why is it that seven is the magic number?

One reason may be based on the median ages of men and women when they first marry. Men will typically marry around 28 and women around 26. If there is significant discord within the relationship, couples would rather call it quits while they are still young enough to get back on the market, or so the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia believes.

Experts also think that while the first couple years of married life are the infamous marital bliss, stresses soon starts piling up. The commitment that comes with children, job-related stress, and the mere accumulation of negative experiences drives a wedge between couples. A professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University notes that people find out that life with their partner is not right for them early on in the marriage, but it takes a few years to get to the point of divorce.

Around the seventh year, experts believe the romance might not be enough to cancel out the things one partner may not like in the other.

Source: The Boston Globe, "The magic number when magic's gone," Beth Teitell, 29 July 2011

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