One in 5.5 percent

This weekend we celebrated an event that it is said only one in 5.5 percent of couples achieve.

It was my parents’ Diamond Anniversary – 60 years married.

We were commenting on how difficult it was to find Diamond Anniversary cards and my husband said that it was no wonder as it seems that only 5.5 percent of all couples that marry get to celebrate their Diamond Anniversary. (And the card manufacturers weren’t going to have a large range for such a small percentage) Anyway – this got me wondering about the other 94.5%.

When you think of the troubled times that many who could have achieved this milestone have lived through then it is, perhaps, not so surprising that so few do.  My parents married in 1953  when my father was 26 and my mother 22. Many, not much older than them, would have met and married during the war – and of those, many men never came home, and quite a few women were killed in air-raids etc. That my generation have not been involved in a war that called up conscripted men and women must have increased the number likely to survive to reach their Diamond in the future.

Health can also take its toll of one or other partner. As a simple example, we are fortunate to live in a time and country where women are less likely to die in childbirth than they were even 60 years ago.  As health care has improved so more people are living longer – making it more likely that  both partners will be around come that 60th married year.

Against this we have to put the larger number of marriage breakdowns. With divorce becoming easier in the time since my parents wed, for better or worse, there are many more splits than there used to be.

And in the future?  Well, the trend for people to marry later in life will mean that those couples will have to achieve an even greater age to reach that Diamond number. Will that affect the percentage?

It’s strange that each of the first 10 years get a ‘material name’ yet when you reach the other end it is ten year gaps. Is any one year worth celebrating more than another?

Do you think that the percentage of people celebrating their Diamond Anniversary will rise or fall over the next twenty five years ( picking a number out of the air)?

So, what do you think ? You know I love to hear from you – do share your thoughts!

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5 thoughts on “One in 5.5 percent

  1. On the one hand, I think every day together is worth celebrating, let alone every year.
    😉
    More seriously, I think that the closer women get to equality in pay and job opportunities, the fewer couples will reach milestones like 60th anniversaries, figuring that there are a percentage of people who get there now who might have broken up if the wife had had the resources to do so. Which is not to say women shouldn’t have equality, just that the incentive for staying in a relationship is changing.

    • Hi Liv,
      I think you may be right there – though I suspect that mainly applied to my parent’s generation – as just having the ability to get out and earn a living was enough – women didn’t need to be earning just as much as their ‘unsuitable’ husband to break free.(Though this may be easier in the UK – with a greater degree of state backup here, ie free health care, subsidised higher education for children of low-earners etc) and I am all for equal pay for equal work too – and yes, that would make the choice even easier.
      Mind you, in my parent’s case, throughout their marrige my mum had always dealt with all their finances and once she got back into work she was the higher earner, and it didn’t bother dad one jot!
      And thank you for the congrats – I shall pass them on! 🙂
      Ann

  2. First, congratulations to your parents. It is an amazing accomplishment. Second, being a tad picky you should change the title of your post. 5.5% means 5.5 out of 100 couples reach that milestone. Or “One in 18.18” Not one in 5.5% . (I know, everyone’s a critic :))

    • HI George,
      Thank you for your comment! Numbers are definitely not my thing* – what I wanted to say was that my parents were ONE couple in that 5.5% of couples that reach their diamond anniversary. Hopefully my title isn’t too confusing as changing it now would mess up the linked comments! (also – am quite curious what search led you to this blog post ? – I am always fascinated by the way posts get picked up on quite a while after they’ve been posted – and what led the searcher to it – would be happy to hear)
      best
      Ann
      *see my blog http://annfoweraker.com/2014/trouble-with-numbers/

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