6 Signs You Are Probably Going to Get a Divorce

May 29th 2016

You’ve probably heard the often-quoted statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. That statistic has come under scrutiny in recent years, but it still casts a shadow over married couples and people who want to get married someday.

It’s easy to dismiss divorce with boring statements like “love is fickle” or “marriage is hard.” But the truth is several studies have figured out factors that may be warning signs that your marriage is in trouble.

Sad couple having relationship problems in front of beachfmarsicano via Bigstock

Based on the findings of various studies, here are six signs that you are headed for divorce:

1. You’re younger than 28 (or older than 32).

People who get married between the ages of 28 and 32 are least likely to get divorced in the first five years of their marriage, according to a 2015 study by Nick Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah, published by the pro-marriage Institute of Family Studies.

“The odds of divorce decline as you age from your teenage years through your late 20s and early 30s,” Wolfinger wrote. “Thereafter, the chances of divorce go up again as you move into your late 30s and early 40s.” According to the study, for each year after about 32, the chance of divorce goes up about 5 percent.

2. You have a lavish wedding.

When it comes to the big day, spending more than $20,000 on your wedding ups the odds of divorce 3.5 times, compared with couples who keep it between $5,000 and $10,000, according to a 2014 study by Emory University economics professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon on the relationship between wedding expenses and marriage duration. Couples who had the best odds kept the festivities to less than $1,000. Spending $5,000 or less reduced the odds of divorce by 18 percent.

The connection between finances and the length of a marriage begins at the proposal. Spending $2,000 to $4,000 on an engagement ring means you’re 1.3 times more likely to get divorced, compared with the more frugal couples who drop $500 to $2,000, the study found.

The average wedding budget has reached an all-time high of almost $30,000, which doesn’t even include the honeymoon, according to wedding media company XO Group.

3. You have a small wedding.

Specifically, fewer than 200 guests. When a couple has more than 200 guests at their wedding, their chances of divorce decrease by 92 percent, the Emory University study found.

4. You don’t have a clear system for handling chores.

Couples without a system for sharing household tasks can get very resentful very quickly, The Atlantic reported. Sharing household chores ranked third in importance on a list of nine issues associated with a successful marriage, following faithfulness and good sex, according to a 2007 Pew Research Center survey.

About 62 percent of adults said that sharing household chores is very important to marital success, the survey found. This was true across the board, with no differences of opinion reported between men and women, between older adults and younger adults, or between married people and singles.

5. You didn’t go on a honeymoon.

If you're a newlywed, data back your reason not to put off that honeymoon: Couples who go on a honeymoon were 41 percent less likely to divorce, according to the Emory University study.

6. You are negative and critical.

People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing, and they see negativity when it’s not there, according to a 1986 study by psychologists John Gottman and his wife, Julie, who have been studying marriages since the 1970s by observing them in action.

For the study, the Gottmans observed couples during interviews about their spouses and while on vacation. Six years later, they followed up with them to see which couples were still together. By observing their previous interactions and their bids for attention, connection, and support, the Gottmans could predict a couple’s ability to stay together with 94 percent certainty.

People who stonewalled their partner — deliberately ignoring or refusing to communicate — damaged the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and invisible, the Gottmans found. As The Atlantic notes in a profile of the Gottmans and their research: Being mean is the death knell of relationships.

[h/t A Plus and The Atlantic]

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