Marriage. Marriage is that great institution that many assume is sanctioned by God but forget won’t be acknowledged on this Earth without a legal document from the county clerk’s office (that’s not the clergy’s office, y’all). This moment where you sign a piece of paper that says this is your PERSON. The person with whom you want to build the foundation of a life and then live ALL OVER it. Many of us have been able to marry the person we love since always. Interracial marriage was legalized by the U.S. Courts in 1967. Same-sex couples had MONUMENTAL victories in the battle for marriage equality this month with 15 states leaving the dark side to join the light (for a total of 32 states that allow Same-Sex Marriage!!). With more and more couples having the option of marriage, we have to ask ourselves: how do we make this last? When we hear the (now disproved) statistic that half of marriages end in divorce, which I am sure is not the direction ANY couple imagines their marriage taking, we must ask ourselves: what makes a marriage stable and able to withstand the test of time? Don’t worry! We’ve got some statistics for that!!
In a blog posted earlier this month, Randy Olson goes over some fascinating statistics he pulled from a study titled ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration. This study surveyed recently married and divorced couples with questions including how long did they date, how long where they engaged, etc. After compiling and analyzing the data, researchers were able to designate factors that could predict whether or not a marriage would end in divorce.
From the survey, couples who dated for 1-2 years were 20% less likely to divorce than couples who dated for less than a year. Couples who dated for 3 or more years were 39% less likely to divorce than couples who dated for less than a year. This gives some weight to the theory that the longer you know someone the better apt you are to stay with them – if you spend 3 or more years getting to know someone’s bad habits (and good ones, too) you’ll have the knowledge before you make that big commitment! Money also played a HUGE role in divorce statistics. When compared to couples who made $0-$25K annually, couples who made $25K-$50K were 31% less likely to divorce, those who made $50K-$100K were 39% less likely to divorce, $100K-$125K were 42% less likely to divorce, and couples whose combined income was $125K or higher were a staggering 51% less likely to divorce one another. Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it certainly affects your marriage’s longevity. Other factors noted were that couples who attended church together tended to have more stable marriages, couples who valued their partner’s looks and wealth were more likely to divorce. Interestingly, couples who have a high number of people attend their wedding divorce less while couples who spend more than $20K on their weddings tend to divorce more.
So, what can we take away from this? My suggestion is planning. Put the time and effort into creating an environment that will allow your marriage and future to thrive. Love is a beautiful thing, and to find a person you love so deeply that you want to share your life with them is pretty spectacular. As long as you are still in love it will be worth the effort. And if you have any doubts on your wedding day, or any day thereafter, just remember what the Impressive Clergyman said in the Princess Bride, “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam….” (just try not to remember that this was at the beginning of Buttercup’s wedding to the loathsome Prince Humperdinck).