Couples That Date Longer Stay Married Longer

If you saw a man in a bar, slept with him that night, got married four months later, and are still together thirty years later, good for you.

This is a wonderful story and proof that a broken clock is right twice a day.

It’s important to say this up front because, somehow, folks seem to take great offense whenever they’re told that their way of finding love is somehow suboptimal. You shouldn’t. No one is judging you.

I just find it far more important to share facts than feelings. You may FEEL that you should “just know” when you’ve met your “soulmate” and when you have that feeling, you should both just lock it in as quickly as possible. That’s fair – and hey, every once in awhile it works. Alas, most of the time, it doesn’t, according to this study by Randy Olson, which looks at certain factors in how long marriages last:

Spending a ton of money on your wedding will not CAUSE you to break up, but it happens to correlate with higher divorce rates.

The charts on the linked page talk about correlation, not causation, which is an important distinction. In other words, spending a ton of money on your wedding will not CAUSE you to break up, but it happens to correlate with higher divorce rates.

To me, the most salient data points on those graphs state the following:

The more money a couple makes, the less likely they are to divorce.

Again, this is correlation, not causation. But it makes perfect sense. People with more education are more likely to get married, to use birth control, to delay marriage, to come from functional families, and to make more money. Couples who make over $125K are 51% less likely to divorce than couples making less than $25K.

The more people a couple has at the wedding, the less likely they are to divorce.

Makes sense. Couples that elope, run off to Vegas, or choose not to include family are often doing so in the heat of passion, without parental blessing. It’s not a huge shock when these relationships don’t work out. (And yes, I know there are second marriages where the couple decides not to make a big deal about the wedding. Just know that these marriages fail two-thirds of the time also!)

The longer a couple dates before a proposal, the less likely they are to divorce.

Life is a marathon and slow and steady wins the race.

Not remotely surprising, but surprisingly controversial to people who don’t want to believe this. Couples that date for less than one year have the highest divorce rate. Couples that wait 3 years before getting engaged have a 39% lower divorce rate. In essence, if you spend three years dating before you tie the knot, you are much more likely to discover whether you are long-term compatible than a couple that falls in love, ties the knot, and tries to figure it out AFTER the wedding.

This is IMPORTANT news for both women in their 30’s who are feeling the pressure of time and women in their 50’s who feel like they have less time and more maturity so they should just KNOW better.

Uh uh. Life is a marathon and slow and steady wins the race.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.