Ever After

Love may be blind, but according to a study from Emory University, divorce can be displayed in a reader-friendly series of pie charts and graphs. Recent research considered significant factors in why people split up. Data scientist Randal Olson translated the information into tables. The results are eye opening. While on the surface the research seems to be a catalogue of failure, it may offer useful insight for stacking the odds in favor of tying a successful knot.

Rules of Engagement

The likelihood of enjoying a long marriage is increased by an extended period of dating. People who waited three years or more before becoming engaged had a 39 percent edge over couples who were together less than a year before marriage.

Money Matters

The research seems to make a distinction between income and spending. Couples who bring in a combined income of $125,000 or more are twice as likely to stay married than couples who make $25,000 or less each year. Big spenders, however, fair less well than conscientious consumers. For instance, laying out over $2,000 for an engagement ring was a red flag for couples who called it quits early. Other numbers:

  • $25,000 $50,000, 31 percent less likely to divorce
  • $50,000 $100,000, 39 percent less likely to divorce
  • $100,000 $125,000, 42 percent less likely to divorce

Wedding Wisdom

The research is likely to stir up some confusion within the wedding industry. Big weddings are an excellent indicator of marital longevity, but not if they cost too much. According to the data, a large celebration can indicate that the couple has a good number of family and friends who will provide an equally large support system as the couple builds a life together. The sticky part is the expense. While the study gives a nod to a big party, the recommendation is to do it on the cheap. With an average sticker price of $30,000, today's weddings are anything but modest.

Take a Honeymoon

Taking a honeymoon increases a couple's chances of staying married by 59 percent. It makes sense that the couple who takes time for themselves right at the beginning of their married life may be more likely to continue the practice in some form as time goes by. Staying interested in one another and enjoying one another's company is a sure-fire way to keep a marriage strong. It is unclear, however, if the honeymoon follows the same economic standard as the wedding. Presumably, a camping trip would have similar benefits over a week in Maui, as long as the trip is appealing to both parties.

Age as a Factor

Couples who are the same age when they marry have the best chance of remaining so. At one year apart, they are three percent more likely to divorce. A five-year gap increases the number to 18 percent, and a 10-year span raises it to 30 percent. The number continues to increase at an alarming rate after that. While it doesn't look good for May December romances, analysts stress that statistics are not fate. However, a significant difference in age may prevent couples from sharing enough points of reference to make for a companionable marriage. Nearness in age seems to maximize empathy for someone else's stage of life.

Married With Intent

Outside of the age issue, the results of the study are not so surprising. Clear intention and renewed dedication win the day for marriage longevity. Regular churchgoers do well. People who do not prioritize their partner's looks or bank account do better that people who do. Spending with an eye toward a budget helps to keeps a marriage on an even keel. In other words, couples who enjoy their wedding, but look past it with a clear eye toward a shared future have the best shot at throwing another big shindig for their 50th wedding anniversary.

Category: Get Ordained Wedding Planning

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