Four Ways To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

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If you want to increase the odds of having a marriage that doesn’t end in divorce, just make more than $50,000 a year, go to church more often and date for at least three years before you decide to tie the knot.

Those are the findings of a study by Emory University researchers Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon titled “A Diamond is Forever and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration.” The study, which also found that the cost of an engagement ring can determine the success of a marriage, surveyed 3,151 American adults who have been married to a member of the opposite sex. Their findings were also broken out into visual form by data scientist Randal Olson.

The study indicates that you should:

Date for at least three years

Waiting three years or more to get engaged means divorce is 39 percent less likely, so get to know the person before you take the plunge.

Make good money

If you earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, divorce is 39 percent less likely, and that figure goes to 42 percent if you make over $100,000 and 51 percent if you’re taking home more than $125,000.

Go to church together more often
The study found that couples who regularly attend religious services together are 46 percent less likely to get divorced, compared to only 10 percent likely if they only go to church together occasionally. Couples who don’t attend church at all are twice as likely to get divorced.

Don’t marry solely for looks
The study finds that people who deemed their partner’s physical appearance important were 40 percent more likely to get divorced. When men care more about their partner’s looks, they are 1.5 times more likely to get divorced. For women, focusing too much on wealth can be a problem, as they are 1.6 times more likely to end up divorced when the money their partner makes is a primary focus.


6 thoughts on “Four Ways To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage”

      1. Yes…the money piece. Sometimes no matter how much you make its not enough for some people. I make good money, I always was the breadwinner and it did not prevent money from being one of the biggest disputes we constantly had. Also date for 3 years? I guess that depend how old you are? I dated for 2 and it wasn’t enough. Finally church: my best friend is an avid church goer with her family…and it didn’t stop the consistent adultery. The only way to divorce proof a marriage is to work at it daily, give the best of yourself all the time and be committed to your spouse above all others at all times. My humble opinions after a 20 year marriage.

  1. So, this may sound kinda nitpicky, but here goes anyway –

    I understand the title didn’t come from you, and I highly doubt that anyone put that much thought into it, but I really object to the term “divorce-proof.” That term denies the fact that marriages are made of two people who both have free will; at any given time, anyone’s spouse can exercise their free will and walk away. Happens far too frequently.

    As for the rest of the article, it’s focusing too much on surface things that may or may not indicate underlying compatibility. I know it’s just supposed to be a light read, but marriage is pretty serious business, and far too many people approach marriage with no clue about what to expect, either from their spouses or from themselves. So it bothers me when something so serious is just kinda brushed away lightly.

    The first one I don’t think is accurate – I have seen at least one other study that says the lowest divorce risk is in the couples who go 18 months from first meeting to getting married. Shorter than that means they don’t tend to know each other well enough, and longer means they’re not really looking to commit (or something) so they’re more likely to get divorced. So I’m not sure where they got their data for the 3-year thing or now they analyzed their data; I don’t know which one is right.

    Make more money- the only thing this will solve is that at some point you have enough money that you don’t have to actually talk to each other and make hard choices. If you can get on the same page with regard to money management, the amount of money you have doesn’t really matter, although of course more money is more pleasant than less money. But my real issue with this point is that they treat making more money as if it’s something freely and easily elected. “Oh I think I’ll go make more money today!” Nuh uh. Doesn’t work like that. You need to agree on money management so you can weather the inevitable job loss, or sudden home maintenance expense, or medical bills.

    Go to church – the real reason this helps is that people who are attending church regularly are more likely to value marriage as a permanent and important institution. It’s really nothing about church itself (as I look around for lightning to strike me from above). And I say that as a Catholic married to an agnostic – we made an agreement about how religion is integrated into our lives and we both honor it. And we both agree that neither one of us is going anywhere. Similar to my money management point above, my issue with this point is that they treat it as if it’s as simple as showing up physically to the church building and sitting in the pew. Doesn’t work like that. As I said, it needs to be a commitment to the institution of marriage.

    Don’t marry for looks – i.e. don’t be shallow. This one I 100% agree with. If you put too much value on something that’s definitely going to change with time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

    1. I agree with your points. I know people who dated far less than 3 years- six months to be exact and still are happily married for 40+ years. Also, money matters can make more relationships difficult and just going to church is not in itself alone going to improve your marriage. The two people have to be committed to the institution of marriage and willing to want to do the work during the good and bad times. And the fourth point of marriage for superficial qualities will always set you up for failure.

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