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7 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage (Statistically Speaking)

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While these certainly aren't guaranteed (please don’t cite us in your divorce petition), here are some things science says will make you less likely to get divorced.

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1. Quit Smoking

A study published in 2010 (PDF here) found that if only one partner smoked, it caused more marital problems than differing religions, different backgrounds, even different plans for having children.

Couples are an astonishing 76-95% more likely to get divorced if only one of them smokes. The amount increases when the wife is the partner with the habit. While couples who both smoke have it a bit better, a 1998 study found they are still 53% more likely than non-smoking couples to end their marriage.

2. Take Up Optometry

Analysis of census data from 2000 found some professions seem to be almost divorce-proof. As one might expect, religious workers and clergy had some of the lowest divorce rates, but there were some slightly less obvious professions in the bottom ten. These included optometrists, shuttle car drivers and transit police, with optometrists clocking in with a ridiculously low 4% chance of getting divorced. Other low risk professions included farming and nuclear engineers.

If you think your job as a massage therapist, animal trainer, or mathematician puts you in the clear, think again. You’re in the top ten most-likely-to-get-divorced jobs.

3. Share Chores

Proponents of traditional gender roles in marriage often point to the fact that divorce rates increased as more women went into the workforce. But a study from the London School of Economics recently found that the stress on a marriage due to the wife working is completely offset when husbands contribute more to housework, childcare, and shopping. In turn, those couples are more likely to stay together.

The study found that in households split along traditional gender lines, with the wife staying home and the husband contributing nothing to the housework, the divorce rate was slightly higher than when both partners worked and contributed roughly equally to the housework. When both had jobs and the husband made a “minimal contribution” to the housework, the risk of divorce almost doubled.

4. Live in a Blue State

You might expect divorce rates to be highest in states with more liberal residents, but you’d be wrong. Even though it was the solidly blue California that pioneered “no-fault” divorce in 1969, a 2009 census report revealed that residents of more conservative states are more likely to get divorced than their more liberal counterparts.

The Census Bureau explained some of the possible reasons behind the trend. One, in states in the South and West of America, residents tend to marry younger than those in the Northeast, which in turn more often leads to eventual marital discord. Two, these states also have a larger population of immigrants, and the loss of a supportive familial and social network can put a strain on many immigrant marriages, resulting in higher divorce rates.

5. Hang Out With People Who Aren’t Divorced

But surely living in a red state isn’t causing people to get divorced. It’s obviously those other factors that contribute to the larger numbers, right?

That’s true, but even just knowing people who are getting divorced makes you more likely to do so yourself. Studies on “social contagion” have shown that if you have a divorced sibling, you are 22% more likely to get divorced. But it isn’t just family members who affect us; divorces between friends and even friends of friends up your chances of ending your own marriage. Therefore living in a state with higher divorce rates, even if you waited until you were older to marry, still affects your chances of staying together.

6. Marry Someone You Met at School

Last year, the dating site eHarmony conducted the largest study ever into whether couples who met in certain places were more or less likely to get divorced. They looked at the expected number of divorces for couples who met at places like church, school, work, bars, and dating sites, and compared them to how many actual divorces occurred. While in most cases the number of actual divorces was almost exactly what was expected, the biggest difference was couples who met at school. According to this study at least, if you met your spouse in high school, college, or grad school, you are 41% less likely to get divorced than the statistics predict. The other major difference was couples who met in bars, who were 24% more likely to get divorced than expected.

7. Have Sons

A study of over 3 million couples found that having even one daughter increases a couple’s chances of divorce, while have sons lessens them. A first born daughter makes you 5% more likely to split up, while three girls increase it by 10%. A 2007 report stated that in any given year, 52,000 first born daughters under 12 years of age would still have an in-residence father if they had been born boys.

There are a variety of theories on this. One is that men are more invested in raising sons and are therefore more likely to stick around. Alternatively, women may be more willing to leave bad marriages if they have daughters, to avoid modeling them as acceptable for their girls. This second theory perhaps makes more sense since an estimated 73% of divorces are initiated by the wife.

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10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
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Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.

1. ON SCIENCE

"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.

2. ON NASA FUNDING

"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles

3. ON GOD AND HURRICANES

"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole

4. ON THE BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY INVENTED FOR USE IN SPACE

"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles

5. ON THE DEMOTION OF PLUTO FROM PLANET STATUS 

PBS

"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

6. ON JAMES CAMERON'S TITANIC

"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole

7. ON DEATH BY ASTEROID

"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles

8. ON THE MOTIVATIONS BEHIND AMERICA'S MOONSHOT

"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit

9. ON INTELLIGENT LIFE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)

Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/neildegras615117.html

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."

10. PRACTICAL ADVICE IN THE EVENT OF ALIEN CONTACT 

A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
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40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
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Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.

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