Researchers Say The Secret To A Successful Marriage Has Something To Do With Money

As a newlywed (we’ve made it one week) I’ve received advice from a number of friends and family members on how to make sure my marriage stands the test of time. While I’m sure their counsel is solid, a pair of researchers from Emory University say the secret to a divorce-proof marriage is not listening to those bridal magazines that say an expensive marriage is a happy marriage.

The Atlantic reports that the researchers analyzed 3,000 married couples in the United States to determine if the cost associated with their weddings was related to their likelihood of divorce.

Although every marriage is different and a variety of factors can lead to the demise of a relationship, the report [PDF] found several instances in which the amount of money spent on a wedding related to the duration of the union.

Couples who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring have a significantly higher probability of divorce. Those who spent less than $1,000 showed a decreased chance of divorce, the report showed.

Like previous reports that found having a large wedding (150 or more guests) leads to a high-quality marriage, the new report shows that weddings with between 101 and 200 guests were 84% less likely to divorce.

While having hundreds of guests might improve your chance at a long-lasting marriage, the report found that you shouldn’t actually break the bank for the big day. Researchers found that couples who spent $20,000 or more on their weddings were 46% more likely to divorce than those who spent between $5,000 and $10,000.

But in case you do have several thousand dollars put away for the big occasion, make sure you spend it on the honeymoon: The Atlantic reports that couples who take time off to go on a honeymoon decrease their chance of divorce by 41%.

Of course the study had some non-financial advice for couples as well. Those who date for about three years before getting hitched are 39% less likely to head for the big D than those who dated for one year or less.

Additionally, couples who regularly attend religious services are 46% less likely to divorce than those who don’t.

So what does the research actually mean? Mainly, the report’s authors say it debunks the myth that expensive weddings mean happy marriages.

The Divorce-Proof Marriage [The Atlantic]