What's The Secret To Having A Successful Marriage?

Ever wish there was some sort of a guide out there that could just show you how to make your relationship work? You're not the only one — and you're also in luck. A new study reveals the keys to a successful marriage… or at least one that is less likely to end in divorce.

So what is the formula for a "divorce-proof" marriage? According to researchers at Emory University, it's simple: Be wealthy, but don’t spend too much money on your wedding. Definitely go on a honeymoon. Oh, and be sure to date your partner for at least three years before tying the knot, and marry them for something other than their looks or wealth. That's it! You're on your way to marital bliss!

Well, kind of. Researchers Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon surveyed more than 3,000 married people in the United States, asking them questions about their wedding spending, courtship, and marriage duration in an attempt to figure out what makes a modern-day marriage last. Francis and Mialon's findings point out factors that are most likely to lead couples to divorce, and which ones might contribute to a relationship's overall success. Essentially, it comes down to something of a numbers game. Let's break it down, shall we? Here's how the statistics play out, according to three different factors: the cost of the wedding, how much money a couple makes, and how long a couple dated before taking the marital plunge.

1. The cost of your wedding

Francis and Mialon's first finding has already set the Internet ablaze — expensive wedding rings are linked to higher divorce rates. In fact, wedding rings that cost between $2,000 and $4,000 are 1.3 times more likely to end up belonging to a divorcee than rings that cost less. What's more? That same type of rule applies to the amount of money spent on a couple’s wedding — the more you spend on your wedding, the more likely you will need to have a second one. Couples that spent more than $20,000 on their wedding were 46 percent more likely to end up divorced than couples that spent between $5,000 and $10,000.

So if you're looking for marital bliss, be sure you have a less expensive wedding — but also make sure you invite everyone you know. Francis and Mialon’s study found that the more wedding guests, the more likely the marriage will last. Couples that invited more than 200 guests were 92 percent less likely to end up with a divorce than couples that eloped. But that's not all...

2. Income

While it seems as though less wedding spending leads to longer marriages, it's still important for couples to be wealthy. Spouses with a combined income of more than $125,000 were 51 percent less likely to split than couples with a combined income of less than $25,000. Some of that money should be put to work though, as couples that went on honeymoons decreased their chances of divorce by 41 percent. More incentive to save on that wedding!

3. Courtship

It's not all about money — courtship also plays a role in a marriage’s duration. The longer the courtship, the longer the marriage will be. Couples who dated for more than three years prior to their engagement were 39 percent less likely to call it quits than couples who had only been dating for less than a year. But even if you've been together forever, make sure you're getting married for the right reasons. Women who cited their partner’s wealth as an important factor in their decision to say "I do" were 60 percent more likely to end up divorced, while men who said that their partners looks were important were 50 percent more likely to end up separated.


Honestly, most of this information isn't too surprising. Obviously, dating someone for more than three years and valuing them for qualities other than their looks or wealth is a good foundation to start a marriage. And going on a honeymoon could be considered a sign that a couple values spending time together. However, it does seem confusing that while spending lots of money on the wedding and ring may lead to trouble, being "wealthy" is helpful. Maybe it just goes to show that spending money on a wedding isn't as important as focusing on the marriage itself.

So there you have it! Now all you have to do is find someone to date, then fall in love with them, then decide to spend the rest of your life with them, then make extra sure that your lives are compatible, then get that person to propose, or maybe just propose yourself. See? Easy peasy.

Image: Leland Francisco/Flickr; Giphy (4)