Everyone wants a long and happy marriage.
This is great news!
But wouldn’t it be nice if there were some science behind how to make a marriage last? Or maybe a formula that could be applied or a special pill designed specifically to foster long lasting marriages?
Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon, two researchers at Emory University studied 3,000 married couples in the U.S. to determine some of the factors that can help make a marriage last. Their demographic statistics were compiled and their findings are actually quite interesting.
And while there is no recipe or secret to making a marriage last, there are some signs you may be on the right track:
1. You dated at least three years prior to becoming engaged
Research shows that couples who dated for at least three years prior to their engagement are 39 percent less likely to get divorced than couples who dated less than a year before getting engaged.
According to Psychology Today, there is no hard and fast rule on how long a couple should wait to get engaged or married. However, most experts agree that anything shorter than two years drastically increases the odds of divorce.
Dating for a while before saying “I do,” indicates a level of planning that suggests the couple is in it for the long haul.
2. You attend church regularly
The statistics here are clear. Those who attend church regularly and are active in their faith are 46% less likely to divorce.
An article, on this topic, published in Christianity Today cites the findings from a study conducted by Dr. Wilcox, Director of The National Marriage Project. The study finds that “religiously unaffiliated Americans are the most likely to divorce.”
Also, when considering how much religion factors into a couple’s ability to make a marriage last, you must understand that it isn’t religion per se that holds the marriage together. Rather, it is the belief system of the church and its views concerning marriage and family. This belief system is tied to the support network that accompanies regular church involvement.
When couples engage in a belief system that frowns on divorce and are surrounded by individuals who reinforce and encourage marriage–the chance of divorce diminishes.
3. You have a large wedding
On the surface, this factor doesn’t seem to make sense. However, consider the following statistic: couples who elope are 12.5 times more likely to end up divorced than couples who get married at a wedding with 200+ people.
Having a large group of family and friends who support the marriage is critically important to long-term marital stability.
4. You have an inexpensive wedding
This factor seems to directly contradict point three. But the research data doesn’t lie. The study found that the more you spend on a wedding the higher your chances of divorce become.
The study states that couples who spend $20,000 or more on their wedding are 46 percent more likely to get a divorce. Adversely, couples who spend $5,000 or less are 18 percent less likely to divorce.
Researchers Francis and Mialon say one possible explanation for their findings is that post-wedding debt can stoke marital tensions.
5. You have a honeymoon immediately after the wedding ceremony
Going on a honeymoon decreases the likelihood of a couple splitting up by 41 percent.
There’s a reason the honeymoon comes right after getting hitched. There is all of this wedding stress that builds up, followed by a huge and extravagant party involving all of your family and friends. All of this stress and pressure can really take a toll on the newlyweds. A honeymoon is a time of relaxation, re-connection and release.
6. You have a combined annual income of over $125K
Its no secret– disputes over finances are one of the leading causes of divorce.
Couples with an annual income north of 125K are 51 percent less likely to come undone. And the more a couple earns the lower their chances of divorce become.
7. Inner beauty is valued over external beauty
This is a no brainier. If the physical attractiveness of your spouse is high on your list of priorities you may as well prepare to become a divorce statistic.
In fact, men are 50 percent more likely to end up divorced when they site their partner’s looks as being an important part of their decision to marry.