This Is a "Divorce-Proof Marriage," According to Science

Endless books, studies, and think pieces have evaluated what makes a relationship work, but apparently, you can whittle it (more specifically, divorce) down to a science given the right parameters and some 3000 test subjects. Data scientist Randal Olson recently did just that, painting a statistics-backed picture of what a so-called “divorce-proof marriage” looks like, as reported by The Atlantic. Olson used the results of a 2014 marriage study analyzing the relationship between wedding expenses and relationship longevity. With over 3000 married couples studied, the original researchers, Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon from Emory University, analyzed income, religious dedication, measures of attractiveness, wedding attendance, total wedding expenses, and more. Here are some notable conclusions:

  • Couples who date for three-plus years before getting married are the least likely to get divorced.
  • Couples who make $125,000 or more per year cut their divorce risk in half.
  • Married couples who are regular churchgoers are 46% less likely to get divorced than those who seldom attend.
  • Couples with a large wedding attendance (200 people or more) are less likely to get divorced.
  • Conversely, the likelihood of divorce increases with the amount of money spent on the wedding overall.

“The wedding industry has consistently sought to link wedding spending with long-lasting marriages,” write Francis and Mialon of the study results. “Our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes.”

What do you think contributes to a successful or unsuccessful marriage? Tell us your feelings on the subject, and for the full list of Francis and Mialon’s results, head over to The Atlantic.