The National Marriage Project is out with new and surprising findings. In a study of more than 400 couples, UVA social scientists concluded the size of your wedding matters.
Study participants were asked about the happiness of their marriage, whether they ever thought about divorce, whether they confided to one another and whether they thought things were going well. Scores were tallied, and researchers began to look at what the top 40% had in common. Project Director Brad Wilcox says those who invited at least 150 guests to their wedding were more likely to have a good marriage.
“It may just be the kinds of people who have a big network to begin with of friends and family are more likely to flourish, but a second idea is that if you’re standing up in front of a big group of friends and family you may be more likely to invest in and take your marriage seriously.”
Couples were also more likely to be in the good marriage category if they had limited pre-marital relationships.
“Couples who have just one partner -- one another are more likely to success than those who had many different romantic or sexual partners, and this kind of runs against the idea that the more experience you have, the better you do in life.”
It might also be, he says, that people compare their current spouse with past partners.
“You might compare your husband, in terms of his humor, to boyfriend A who was very humorous. You might compare his cleanliness to boyfriend C who was very clean. You might compare his work ethic to boyfriend D who was a real hard worker.”
Another thing that seemed to put marriage on a rockier road was having children before tying the knot :
“About 41% of kids are born outside of marriage today in America, and almost a majority of first kids are born outside of marriage, so this is a very common scenario.”
Finally, Wilcox says, couples were more likely to have unsuccessful marriages if they had moved through different stages of a relationship, like moving in together, getting engaged and having kids without much thought or discussion. The researchers called that sliding rather than deciding.