Want your marriage to last? There’s 7 things science says will help… 31



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We all know that a good marriage is made up of compromise and hard work but did you know there are some factors that are out of your control? Science has some surprising findings about just what makes a union a lasting one.

Here’s seven of our favourite factors that contribute to a lasting marriage:


1. Have a cheap wedding

We all wanted that fairytale wedding but is it all it’s cracked up to be? According to research from Emory University, couples who have cheaper wedding ceremonies are more likely to stay together. Those whose wedding costs were higher than $20,000 divorced at a rate 3.5 times of those who spent just $5,000.


2. Watch movies together

Yup, something so simple as watching movies together can increase your chances of a lifelong union. A study in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that couples who watch movies and talk for 30 minutes afterwards saw their chances of divorce drop by 50 per cent. So next time your partner wants to see that new film, it could be doing you both good (even if you hate it)!


3. Meet online

Those who met their husband or wife online have a lower divorce rate to the rest of us, according to research by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. We love to love and the online environment helps us to make lasting connections, as surprising as it sounds!


4. Respond to your partner’s odd comments and musings

We’re the first to admit our partners can be a bit annoying but next time, instead of ignoring their random interjections, oblige them. Psychologist John Gottman says that when you give your partner attention, you are helping your relationship. Ignorance is hurtful and after studying these types of interactions between newlywed couples and following up with the couples six years later, Gottman found that still-married couples had paid attention to their partner during these little random interactions nine times out of ten, while couples that divorced had only paid attention to one another three times out of ten. Food for thought…


5. Buy a small, cheap engagement ring

You hear people say the bigger the better but they weren’t talking about the ring. It turns out that the higher the price of the rock, the more likely a divorce is on your horizon. New research has suggested that marriage failure in a survey of 3,000 has come down to the size and cost of the ring – those who spent $2,000+ were 1.3 times more like to get divorce than those who spent between $500 and $2,000.


6. More good moments than bad

It’s sounds like common sense but how many times have you heard a new divorcee say that there were too many bad moments than good? It seems some of us don’t know how to balance out negative issues with our partner and these can override the positive things that happen. So exactly how many good moments need to outweigh the bad? Science says a ratio of five to one.

A University of Washington study showed that in stable marriages, there are at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones. And when this ratio is out of whack, that’s when divorce is likely. Of course, we can’t feasibly keep a record of all our positive and negative moments but we can make a real effort to be caring and kind instead of angry and bitter.


7. Marry a similar spender

It’s no secret that many arguments in a marriage arise from money, so it’s not a surprise to learn that the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business found that if you marry someone who spends like you do, then you will have a more amicable relationship. With that said, we are more likely to choose someone who spends opposite to us.


Were any of these scientific findings the reason your marriage failed or succeeded? Do you think they are true or does a good marriage come down to hard work and a lot of love? Tell us what you think below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Load of hogwash! What about love, trust, respect, patience, friendship and sharing to name a few more important factors for a lifelong commitment! We have 52 years happy marriage based on these.

    6 REPLY
    • Very well put, we celebrate our 42nd anniversary tomorrow, had the usual ups and downs but married for love, life and the laughter was just thrown in.

    • Well said Kay, agree with all your reasons. We are coming up to celebrate 56 yrs in March

    • I agree Kay. We have been married 43years this month. It also helps to like each other and enjoy spending time together. Mind you we did have the really cheap wedding and no engagement ring. I’m not fussed with these things.

    • Kay I agree. We have been married for almost 52 years and wehad some difficult times but we are happier now than ever before. Th most important thing is to respect each other even if you don’t share the same point of view on everything

  2. Hogwash and I’ve been married over 44yrs be friends care about each other and opinions don’t need to agree but take time together and look and listen to each other

  3. Only common point for us was the cheap wedding. Should have been divorced years ago LOL

  4. I don’t think that many of those apply to our age group. How many of us would have gone into massive debt for our wedding or for engagement rings, or met on-line or NOT sat through movies (even those we are not interested in) with our partner. If they included us in surveys it’s not surprising they came up with such rubbish statistics because more of us DO/DID have marriages that last – and it has nothing to do with results.

    1 REPLY
  5. Oh dear I’m in trouble; got more of these wrong than right – does that mean that after 39 years together we are about to get divorced because I was given a nice engagement ring? As for movies, our tastes are so different we often see movies separately, same building different rooms. Meeting online is interesting; has it been around long enough for their to be meaningful statistics? I would think results are skewed when comparing couples who met conventionally and those who met online.

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