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Monthly date nights decrease chance of marriage split

By Faeza
30 September 2016

Husband and wives who enjoy a monthly night out can reduce their chances of splitting up, new research has found.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, and U.S President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle swear by them, but for an ordinary couple, the benefits of a child-free night out are just the same.

Researchers found that splitting up is reduced by 14 per cent in couples who find time to go on a 'date' where they focus on each other just once a month. Holding the dates weekly did not increase the chances of staying together, and researchers found the effect only worked on married couples, and not co-habitees.

Married couples have a 57 per cent chance of splitting, a figure that is lower than among co-habitees.

Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation, and Stephen McKay, professor in social research at Lincoln University, carried out the study.

"For married couples, date night has a meaning," explained the researchers. "For the typical cohabiting couple, with a little less clarity and more ambiguity about the prospect of their whole lives together, the occasional night out has less meaning. It's less intentional, simply a night out."

The Marriage Foundation based their findings on statistics from the Millennium Cohort Study, which tracked nine month-old children born in 2000 and 2001, and their parents for a decade.

Of 9,969 couples surveyed, 11 per cent managed a weekly date night, 30 per cent dated once a month, 23 per cent went out as a couple less than once a month and 36 per cent never did so.

The Marriage Foundation points out, however, that other factors are more important in predicting the chance of staying together, such as education - graduates are less likely to split than the less well educated, and age; the older the couple, the greater their chances of staying together.

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