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married coupleNew figures show that more married couples are surviving the seven year itch.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics show that divorce rates in the early years of marriage are at their lowest since the 1970s.

The number of couples that end their marriage after seven years, famously termed “the seven year itch”, has dropped by a fifth in the last 15 years.

Couples are most likely to break up in the first 10 years of marriage, with the chances of them staying together rising sharply after this milestone is reached.

However, the new figures show that the divorce rate in this first 10 year period is falling.

Analysts and marriage experts have offered different opinions on the possible causes of the decline in divorce rates during the early years of marriage.

 The increased popularity of co-habitation before marriage, as well as people marrying later than previous generations, have both been cited as possible reasons behind the new figures.

Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation, told the Daily Mail: ‘As cohabitation has become more and more accepted over the past 20 years, family pressure on men to get married has reduced.

‘Couples are no longer being told they must do the right thing. As a result, the couples who decide to marry are the most committed.’

He added: ‘The decision to buy into a marriage is very important for men. Men are more committed to their marriage and wives are happier. You can see this in the rates at which wives and husbands are petitioning for divorce.

 ‘Cohabitation is often a precursor to marriage and may act to filter out weaker relationships from progressing to marriage,’

Couples getting married when they are older may be also be a factor. ‘The age at first marriage has been increasing, and previous research has shown that those marrying at older ages have a lower risk of divorce,’ he said.

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