A Large, Inexpensive Wedding Could Lead to Marital Bliss
Ask a dozen people what they believe to be important to a happy marriage, and the answers will likely include trust, love, fidelity and communication. There is little doubt that such characteristics truly do contribute to the health of a marital relationship, and the marriages that lack them are likely to end in divorce. However, recent studies seem to have identified a number of other, sometimes surprising, impacts to a happy marriage.
Scott Stanley and Galena Rhoades, researchers at the University of Denver, recently conducted a Relationship Development Study which included more than 400 individuals. All of the participants were single at the beginning and each had gotten married by the conclusion of the conclusion of the research five years later. Stanley and Rhoades collected information regarding lifestyles, choices, and behavior prior to the marriage, as well as data concerning marital happiness, communication, and thoughts of divorce after the marriage.
What the study found, is that “What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, so to speak,” as the research team stated. “Our past experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex, and children, are linked to our future marital quality.” Relatively higher numbers of previous sexual partners seemed to predict a lower level of happiness in the marriage, as did a prior divorce or cohabitation. Children from a previous relationship also appeared to negatively impact marital quality.
Participants who reported the highest quality marriages tended to have several things in common. More conservative approaches to dating including, for example, maintaining separate homes seemed to bode well for a happy marriage. Likewise, participants who waited to have a child until after the marriage also indicated higher levels of marital satisfaction. The researchers observed that when the marital commitment was given a higher priority, the resulting marriage tended to be happier. Couples that “[slid] into a marriage that they would have otherwise avoided,” they wrote, seemed to have the opposite experience.
The study also asked participants to share details regarding the wedding ceremony itself. Those that reported large weddings tended to enjoy a higher quality marriage than those with small ceremonies. A separate study conducted by economics professors at Emory University, corroborated Stanley and Rhoades’s findings regarding wedding size, but with a twist. The economists found that a large, relatively inexpensive wedding seemed to give couples the best chance at a happy life together.
While neither team explored very deeply the reasons behind their results, the findings certainly provide an interesting look at some of the factors that may impact a marriage. Both teams acknowledged that they were examination trends, not absolutes, and that any particular couple, regardless of circumstance, is capable of a fulfilling, life-long marital relationship.
If you live in the Kane County area and the quality of your marriage has you considering divorce, we can help. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today at 630-232-9700 to schedule your appointment.