Relationship Development Revisited: More Divorce Risk Factors

No matter how much research is published, it is rather unlikely that a couple preparing for marriage will cancel their plans based on a compilation of marriage and divorce statistics. Researchers, however, are able to take larger numbers of marriages and analyze some of the demographic and social factors involved attempting to determine if trends or relationships exist between those factors and the success level of the marriage.

A few months ago, this post looked at some of the findings to come out of a study by researchers at the University of Denver. The research, as many similar studies do, looked at various aspects of a couple’s history, including individual experiences and details regarding the wedding and the relative success of the couple’s relationship. Among the list of findings, the study reported that couples who celebrated their wedding with a larger number of guests were more likely to report a high-quality marriage than those with smaller weddings.

Interestingly, a separate study recently released by Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon at Emory University, also suggests that a big wedding bodes well for a couple, but that spending too much on it may have the opposite effect. Having 200 or more guests at the wedding, according the report, increased the chances of success by over 90 percent compared to a private ceremony, however, spending more than $20,000 on the wedding increased the likelihood of divorce significantly.

Francis and Miaolon also identified several other divorce risk factors, including:

Dating Longer:

Instead of rushing into marriage after dating a year or less, the study found that dating for up to two years improved the success of the marriage by nearly 20 percent. By dating for three or more years, couples showed to be 40 percent less likely to divorce.

Large Age Gap:

The study participants seemed also to struggle in their marriage based on the difference in age between the partners. Couples with little or no age gap tended to report better marital success, but as the age difference got larger, so did the likelihood the marriage would fail.


While it may seem trivial, the research suggests that taking the time to honeymoon after the wedding has a large impact on the health of the marriage. In fact, couples who went on a honeymoon of some kind were 40 percent more likely to stay together than those that did not.

As is the case in many studies of this nature, proving cause and effect can be difficult, especially when considering nuptial finances. “It could be that the type of couples who have a … (cheap wedding) are the type that are a perfect match for each other,” Professor Mialon opined. “Or it could be that having an inexpensive wedding relieves young couples of financial burdens that may strain their marriage.” Obviously, the research team acknowledged that every situation is unique and no study can truly predict the dynamic of any single relationship.

If you live in Illinois and are considering a divorce, it is easy to find the help you need. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today for a consultation and review of your case.