1. DIVORCE IS EASY. It could possible half of married couples were stuck in miserable relationships back in the day.
2. People don't understand the huge differences in dating and marriage. (ie kids, money, stuck with for life)
And I don't think people understand 50% Divorce rate =/= 99.9999999% Divorce rate.
Most Helpful Guy
Did you know the QUALITY of marriage is through the roof?
The reason divorce rates are high is because we aren't as strict about shaming divorce, and women aren't, or shouldn't be, dependent on men for income.
Remember, women initiate the vast majority of divorces. 70% I believe. Probably because men are expected to handle anything thrown at them. "take it like a man". So he's less likely to initiate, because that's seen as a reflection of his own incompetence and failure, even when it could simply be two incompatible people who were a little too eager to jump ship.
Back in the day, however, the marriage would continue, even if it crumbled. Perhaps he becomes more reserved while she tries harder and harder to illicit a response. Then with little outlet to talk about his internal problems, he cracks and becomes abusive, and she has little other place to go since she is dependent on him for income. Or perhaps she develops Stockholm Syndrome, or similarly, "Beauty and the Beast" complex.
While she may or may not have initiated it, you still shouldn't hang around an abusive partner. To be fair, it's also important to remember that domestic abuse is considered to be basically 50/50 between men and women, it's just that men are more likely to internalize it, since he's supposed to "handle it". And when he finally snaps and becomes violent back, she ends up reporting him.
Either way, this marriage would end if it were nowadays. Back then, this abusive relationship would persist by societal and religious pressures.
So the divorce rate has shot up because people hold marriage to a higher standard, and are more free to end it. It's unfortunate things don't last like they used to, but it's probably for the better. The more we learn about humanity, the more we learn we aren't built to be bound under contract for life. It's exceptional and good if you can do so, but it isn't in our natural predisposition.1