Marriage, Divorce: Key Figures in 2020 (in France)

Marriage seems to be a significant milestone in the lives of human beings. When two people are ready to commit to each other, they proceed with a written agreement. However, while many couples get married every day, others also disengage and seek divorce. Here are the key figures concerning marriage and divorce.

Key Figures for Marriage

In the past, women used to marry at a younger age. However, the age of newlyweds has been increasing over the years. Why is that?

In 2017, France recorded 228,000 marriages celebrated. Since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2013, the number of marriages between opposite-sex couples has increased.

For the year 2017, 221,000 marriages were between opposite-sex couples, and 7,000 were between same-sex couples. Regarding same-sex marriages, there are as many female couples as male couples. Moreover, since 2013, the number of female same-sex marriages has steadily increased, accounting for approximately 42% of such marriages.

Over the past two decades, the average age of newlyweds has significantly increased. In 2017, the average age for men to get married was 38.1 years, compared to 32.9 years in 1997. For women, the average age was 30.3 years in 1997 and increased to 35.6 years in 2017.

For same-sex couples, the average age is much higher. This could be attributed to the fact that the acceptance of same-sex marriage only occurred in 2013. During that year, the average age for men in same-sex marriages was 49.8 years, and for women, it was 43 years. However, by 2017, the average age for same-sex marriages had decreased, with men at 44 years and women at 39.1 years.

Key Figures for Divorce

While many couples form unions every day of the year, some of them break their marriage contract for various reasons. The duration of a marriage depends on the couple’s ability to adapt to their life together. In 2006, 18.86% of marriages lasted for 5 years. The highest percentage was between 5 to 9 years, which accounted for 27.04%. Beyond 15 years of marriage, the divorce rate increases, with only 6.94% of marriages lasting more than 25 years.

In the past, couples rarely sought divorce. For instance, in 1972, only 44,738 married couples filed for divorce, but by 2015, that number had risen to 123,668. The highest number of divorces recorded was in 2015, with 152,000 divorces. Women tend to initiate divorce more frequently than men, accounting for approximately 68% of female divorce petitioners who are employed. Typically, custody of the children is awarded to the mother, representing 83% of cases, and the majority of households remain with the woman as well.

Why Don’t Marriages Last?

Even though thousands of couples start their married life with great love, 364 couples end up divorcing every day in France. Did they idealize love? Did they think their love would naturally last forever? What are the reasons that marriages don’t endure nowadays?

Ignoring Existing Problems

A marriage is not exempt from problems. Even with the most compatible partners, disagreements on certain issues are common. However, ignoring these problems can impact the duration of the marriage. When a problem arises, it must be identified and addressed to prevent a buildup of resentment.

Failing to Overcome Major Tensions

Despite passion and love, several factors can influence marital happiness. These could be demanding jobs, high-pressure work environments, or financial issues. These factors can create tensions that erode love. A couple that doesn’t know how to overcome such problems finds it difficult to sustain marital happiness. Additionally, external influences may cause some to seek solace outside the marriage when a problem arises.

False Idealization of Marriage

Some individuals have preconceived ideas about marriage. As their married life progresses, they realize that reality doesn’t match their expectations. In such cases, they may become disheartened or seek other sources to find their ideal. Once someone becomes disillusioned in a marriage, it’s often difficult to turn back. Others also believe they can benefit from marriage without truly investing in it. However, a happy marriage requires both partners to contribute.

Lack of Communication

To maintain a strong marital bond, it’s essential for a couple to communicate openly. Failure to express feelings can lead to emotional detachment, which can then breed animosity. Nowadays, many couples forget to communicate with each other. However, open dialogue can prevent constant arguments or misunderstandings. It’s hard to understand someone’s thoughts if they don’t share them, and that can lead to misinterpretations. Silence is the primary enemy of a happy marriage.

Most Frequent Causes of Divorce

Why do couples decide to divorce? Why do some not make the effort to save their marriage? What actions lead a woman or a man to seek divorce and leave their home?


Divorce is never a spontaneous decision. It’s a slow process resulting from repetitive events in the marital life. When a couple fails to communicate, when one partner is disappointed with the marriage, or when they pretend to ignore their problems, it creates distance. However, once this happens, it’s challenging to turn back. The passion and love they once felt turn into indifference. And when there’s no longer any emotional connection in a marriage, divorce becomes inevitable.


Unhappy men and women in their marriage often seek to fill the void with someone else. However, this is a cowardly solution as it avoids confronting the problem while betraying a person who mattered. Moreover, infidelity can cause deep feelings of low self-esteem, lack of trust, or the desire for revenge. To avoid such emotions, some people choose to divorce when they have evidence of their partner’s infidelity.

Lack of Attention

In a marriage, it’s crucial to keep the flame alive. A person who only thinks of themselves may suddenly receive a divorce petition. Despite life’s challenges and daily difficulties, it’s essential to consider one’s partner in a marriage. Individualism and selfishness can lead to neglecting the other person’s needs. And when a person doesn’t feel valued in their marriage, they will be tempted to seek divorce.

Abusive Behavior

Physical or verbal violence, extreme jealousy, and other abusive behaviors are common reasons for divorce. No human being can live happily with such behavior. To free themselves from such situations, some people opt for divorce, although sometimes, even that may not be enough to stop the harassment.