The secret to a happy marriage

Posted on 10/11/2014 in misc

A recent study, summarized here by a PHD candidate in computer science, ran a multi-variate analysis on survey results of recently married or divorced Americans to determine the predictive value of various factors related to marriage. The results are interesting, and in some cases counter-intuitive. So let's look at the findings and compare to my marriage. (In case you don't know me - I've been happily married for 23+ years.)

How long you were dating

If you dated 3+ years you are 39% less likely to get divorced. That seems pretty obvious. We started dating in February 1987 and got married in August 1991.

How much money you make

The more you make the less likely to get divorced. Again, that makes some sense. Financial stress is a major factor in divorce, so less financial stress should lead to more stable marriages. We've had periods of financial stress, but mostly we've been comfortable through our marriage.

How often you go to church

If you go to church regularly you are almost twice as likely to stay married. I can't wait for the press release from Focus on the Family on this one. It makes sense, but not because there is a God hand selecting marriages to survive. It's societal pressure. Catholics are taught that divorce is a failure. Some evangelical protestants, particularly when you get in to the Dominionist crowd, basically take agency away from the woman in the marriage. She is a help-meet, not a person. Pretty much all religious people believe they answer to a higher power for their marriage. So it's not surprising that people raised to believe divorce is sin, or that their marriage is somehow blessed by a higher power, would be less likely to be divorce. I'd expect the same results from couples in an arranged marriage. Family expectations would keep them together long past their individual desires. Is society better off with a bunch of loveless marriages held together by cultural expectations? I don't have an answer for that. I do think as a society we are a little too quick to give up on marriages these days. However, that is still be better than 40 years ago, when women couldn't even file for divorce.

We've been married 23+ years, and haven't been to church in about 18 years.

Your attitude toward your partner

This one is kind of weird, but basically boils down to shallow people get divorced more often. Seems obvious. I think my wife is beautiful. Does that make me shallow?

How many people attended the wedding

If you have 200+ people at your wedding you are 92% less likely to get divorced. Maybe a huge wedding implies lots of family and friends for support, and plenty of money so financial pressure doesn't cause stress? Couples who elope are 12.5x more likely to end up divorced than couples who get married at a wedding with 200+ people.

We eloped.

This one makes no sense to me, especially when combined with the next one.

How much you spent on the wedding

You are 53% less likely to be divorced if you spent less than $1000 on your wedding. So your marriage is guaranteed rock sold if you have over 200 guests at a wedding that cost less than $1000? Good luck planing that wedding. Our wedding, IIRC, was $800, and that included the photographer and cake.

Apparently my marriage is an enigma wrapped in a mystery :)

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