Czechs mark marriage week as divorce rate slides


The annual National Marriage Week, aiming at increasing rates of marriage and children born in wedlock, gets under way in the Czech Republic on Monday. According to the data of the Czech Statistical Office, the divorce rate in the Czech Republic, which has traditionally been one of the highest in Europe, has been dropping in recent years and marriages that end in divorce last longer than before.

Some 45 percent of marriages in the Czech Republic ended up in divorce in 2016, which was the lowest figure for the past 15 years. The divorce rate reached its peak in 2010, with every second marriage splitting up. Failed marriages in 2016 lasted on average 13 years before couples threw in the towel. That’s two years longer than in the year 2000 and more than three years longer than in the 1960s and 70s.

According to relationship experts, people most often divorced because of different personalities, opinions, and interests, but also because of infidelity and alcoholism. The majority of the divorced couples had children who were still minors at the time of the break-up.

Jiří Unger, a spokesman of the annual National Marriage Week, promoting the traditional union of man and woman, says the lower g divorce rate is not really a cause for great optimism:

“I think the divorce rate is decreasing because the overall number of marriages decreases. So the ratio of weddings to divorces has decreased. That’s what explains this development. Generally we see a trend that people are less willing to get married, so they stay single or they stay in cohabitating relationships.”

The slogan of this years’ National Marriage Week, which is now in its twelfth year, is Marriage without Myths, focusing on the most frequent mistakes and false expectations linked with married life.

Jiří Unger,  photo: ČT
Jiří Unger says one of the problems is that many couples enter marriage with idealistic expectations that are far from reality:

“Very often they have very unrealistic expectations from their partners and very often they will find out that their husband or wife has faults and that they have to learn how to live together and tolerate each other.

“But there are many other myths, such as that with marriage all the fun and good sex and freedom end, which is not true of course.

“Many surveys have shown that in a long term-relationship sexual satisfaction or the depth of sexual experience, for example, are much greater than in short-term relationships. So these are just some of the examples of myths that we see.”

Over the week, some 150 events promoting marriage are set to take place all around the Czech Republic, including courses, lectures, film screenings, art exhibitions and romantic evenings for couples. More information can be found on the website of the National Marriage Week, which is