Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Homepage

October 10, 2012

Slate's Explainer: If Maria Shriver takes Arnold back

Arnold Schwarzenegger still hopes to win back Maria Shriver, who filed for divorce from him last year after learning that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son with the family's housekeeper. When divorced couples remarry each other, how often does it work out?

Probably less than one-half the time. Anecdotes about divorced couples who remarry each other abound, especially among politicians and celebrities, but there's little in the way of systematic research. A 2004 survey of 1,147 divorcees by the AARP suggested that around 6 percent give their marriage another try, while 4 percent continue to have sex with each other after they divorce.

The most detailed study of the success of second-chance marriages comes from 1938, when pioneering marriage counselor Paul Popenoe compiled 200 stories of couples who married each other two or more times. (His sample, drawn from his patients, acquaintances of his students, and newspapers clippings, wasn't exactly random.) Popenoe reported that 48 percent of the remarried couples were happy together at the time of the study. It's not clear whether that estimate remains accurate today, when the overall divorce rate is nearly double that of the 1930s. The second-chance divorce rate may have risen with the overall divorce rate. On the other hand, some modern couples may divorce too hastily, then find themselves compatible on the second try.

Popenoe's 1938 study suggests that, even if Shriver decides to give Schwarzenegger another chance, the ex-governor might have to wait a while. Couples that have long first marriages — Schwarzenegger and Shriver were together for 25 years before separating in 2011 — tend to wait longer to get back together, for unknown reasons. Second-timers are, however, quick to pull the plug on the do-over. Popenoe found that, among repeat divorcees, the second marriage typically lasts less than a year.

Popenoe's qualitative analysis is no longer useful, largely because he was a man of his time (a condition also made evident by his fervent support of the eugenics movement). He blamed many second marriages on wives who longed for " 'freedom,' self-expression, or an independent career," only to learn that "the world did not yearn for her talents in art or business." Popenoe would describe the Schwarzenegger-Shriver separation as the result of a "righteously indignant" wife upset that her husband had a "middle age infatuation" with an "adventuress."

Certain societies have, at times, taken a dim view of second-chance marriages. Romanian divorcees were forbidden to remarry their exes during the 19th century, for example. In India, the law that applies to Muslim marriages prohibits remarriage to the same person, unless the wife has first married and divorced another man, in a practice known as "Halala."

---

Got a question about today's news? ask-the-explainer@yahoo.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
0420singer2web.jpg

Vocalist Marlana VanHoose with her brother, Harley, and parents, Teresa and David, are shown in her mother’s classroom at Highlands Elementary in Johnson County. VanHoose has earned worldwide fans through videos of her renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games by the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team and the Brooklyn Nets.

Local Sports
Obituaries
Lifestyles
Opinion
Columns
College Basketball
CNHI News Service Originals
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone