The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

ENGAGEMENT-RING

The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

The price on weddings has risen significantly in recent years. So-called “normal” couples today incorporate detailed websites, photo booths and giant ice sculptures into their marriages, and even throw weekend-long events. The industry likes to marry the idea of love and commitment with how much is spent. But although most of us scour the plan looking for ways of saving a few dollars, some wish money was no object. They secretly drool over celebrity-style affairs in exotic locales, taking place in lavish venues where so many luxuries abound their guests’ heads spin. We dream of becoming a part of what looks like modern day royalty. But be careful what you wish for. All of that style may be hiding a lack of substance, according to a study out of Emory University. You would think those who shell out the most mean it the most. But this study found the opposite to be true. The most expensive weddings lead to the shortest marriages. Two economics professors came to this conclusion. They also found that the higher the price-tag for the engagement ring, the greater the likelihood of divorce.

3,000 participants, married only one time, took part in this study. They found that those men who spent $500 to $2,000 were 1.3 times less likely to get divorced than those who spent $2,000 and $4,000. Those who spent $5,000 to $10,000 on the wedding were 3.5 times less likely to get divorced than those who shelled out over $20,000. In an email to Big Think researchers wrote, “Advertising has fueled the norm that spending large amounts on the engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment or is helpful for a marriage to be successful.” Though they’ve found a correlation, determining causation is far trickier. The economists surmise that such a big event inflates the expectations of the marriage. The couple is enchanted into the notion that things are going to be easy from here on out. Both parties have unrealistic expectations which undermine reconciliation when the couple hits a stumbling block. Those who have a more moderately priced affair have a level-headed view and so are ready when the inevitable difficulties arise.

No matter how much you plunk down for your wedding, there are some qualities that can be sustained by both parties to give the marriage the best chance of success. The first is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. There are little things that will inevitably drive you crazy. But if you can remember how supportive and understanding they are, you can perhaps overlook the hair they leave in the shower drain or that they are never once on-time. Invest in your relationship. This could be time, energy or thoughtfulness. But you get out of a marriage what you put into it. Communicate clearly and make sure you understand what your spouse has said or is saying. Lots of fights boil down to miscommunication. Fight smart. If you hurt your partner but win the argument, have you really won? Learn to let the little things go. And find ways to increase your closeness and strengthen your bond. For more on how to achieve marital success read, Strong Marriage, Happy Life: The Core Principles of a Successful Marriage and How to Make Your Marriage Work by Sonya Dawson.

The Bigger your Engagement Ring the More Likely you are to Divorce

ring

The Bigger your Engagement Ring the More Likely you are to Divorce

The old yardstick is a man should spend a month’s salary on the engagement ring. Some women sure do go ga-ga over that big, beautiful, expensive, sparkly ring. Others find the ring beside the point. No one exactly has come out and said that the larger the ring, the more he loves her. Who would dare? That would be in poor taste, would it not? But De Beers sure seems to hint at it hard enough.

Researchers at Emory University, however, found that the opposite was true. The bigger, gaudier, and indeed more expensive the ring was, the more likely the couple was to divorce, the study found. That great symbolic thing may be setting the expectations for the marriage a bit too high. Two economists, Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, conducted the study. 3,000 once married heterosexual couples participated. The aim researchers wrote was to, “evaluate the association between wedding spending and marriage duration.” How much was spent on the wedding was indirectly related to how long the marriage lasted. Those who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced, as compared to those who had spent between $500 and $2,000.

It wasn’t only the engagement ring they looked into. The professors investigated the price tag for the wedding to see if there was any correlation. Turns out there was. Those whose weddings were over $20,000 were 3.5 times more likely to get divorced, than those whose weddings cost in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Those who had modest weddings had the best rate of stay-together-ness. “Relatively low spending on the wedding is positively associated with duration among male and female respondents,” researchers noted.

Another interesting find, “In the sample of all persons, greater differences in age and education between husband and wife and reporting that one’s partner’s looks were important in the decision to marry are both significantly associated with a higher hazard of divorce. On the other hand, relatively high household income, regularly attending religious services, having a child with one’s partner, relatively high wedding attendance, and going on a honeymoon are all significantly associated with a lower hazard of divorce.” The first part makes sense. If you married someone at least partly for their looks, and marriage is a long-term arrangement, one must know that their looks will fade eventually. In the second half of the statement, it seems a lot of strong community and familial connections helps keep couples together. It also seems that these types of couples have a lot in common, which helps too.

Of course, this research didn’t establish a causal relationship. A high priced wedding or engagement ring doesn’t cause a divorce. These scenarios merely indicated a correlation or a higher likelihood. Of course there are those who paid a low price for the engagement ring, who pray for divorce, as well as happily married, rich couples. If you have fallen head over heels with someone, regardless of their net worth or how much they are willing to spend, if your relationship is sitting on a foundation of trust, love, affection, mutual respect and good communication, chances are the marriage will be strong, and will last.

It seems like common sense to most of us that if your marriage is based on primarily superficial concerns, chances are it doesn’t have that deep well of strength needed to overcome the difficult times that inevitably rock any marriage. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your wedding or the ring. What really matters is how you feel about one another, how you get along, and if you can both do what it takes to make the marriage last. Making things work is something you can’t buy with money. Only patience, love, and understanding can do that. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of, What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver.