The five year itch in marriage

AN AVERAGE South African couple marrying for the first time will be a 29-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man and the two join in matrimony between September and March.

If the couple is black, they are likely to divorce after five years and the man will wed a woman who had not been married before. If their union lasts for at least 10 years, they will live happily ever after.

If the couple is white, they may divorce before their fifth anniversary and if they stick together beyond that, they have a chance to be together forever.

According to Stats SA, marriage figures have been fluctuating over the past decade. In 2009 there were 171989 new marriages registered. In 2010, it went down slightly to 170826.

The lowest number of marriages were in 2001 with 134581 new nuptials. The highest number of marriages was recorded in 2008 at 186522 at the height of the recession.

In 2009, Gauteng recorded the most number of marriages at 41817. Northern Cape had the lowest marriages at 4217.

Most South Africans prefer to get married during spring and summer. The wedding season starts in September and peaks in December. March always records the lowest number of weddings.

Data indicates that most of the marriages in 2010 for both bridegrooms and brides were first-time marriages. For bridegrooms, there were 142013 (83,1%) bachelors, 5497 (3,2%) divorcees and 2738 (1,6%) widowers.

For the brides, 149159 (87,3%) were spinsters whilst 3731 (2,2%) were divorcees and 2145 (1,3%) were widows.