McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

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 | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Fairly Snotty McAlester livestock report

    On Tuesday, 1,200 head of cattle were sold at the McAlester Union Stockyards. Steers sold $2 to $9 higher than at the last sale and heifers sold $4 to $8 higher.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 18, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • David Cantrell OSU Extension: Cattle tips for spring

    As we continue to move into spring here in Pittsburg County and cattle prices are at an all-time high, here are a few basic management tips to ensure herd health and productivity of the herd.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICHARDSON 50 1.jpg Richardsons celebrate 50 years of marriage

    Haileyville High School graduates Jim and Connie Richardson, of rural Claremore, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • MHS Student Painters MHS Student Paintings

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pet of the Week Pet of the Week

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Book Sale Book Sale

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miss Teen McAlester Miss Teen McAlester

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1 Week of the Young Child Photos

    April 9, 2014 9 Photos

Seasonal Content
AP Video
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.