How Science Can Predict How Good Your Marriage Will Be

What does it take to stay happily married forever?

Married Couple Rido, tofumax | Canva 

For years we've believed that the longer you wait to wed the better your chances are for long-term success. Not so, says science. A new study reports that it’s actually the opposite.

Couples who wait until they’re in their 30s to marry, increase their odds of divorce by five percent each year post-nuptials.

Is there an enchanted length of time to date before marriage? Not really. For example, I married my husband (of almost 10 years) after dating and knowing him for just six weeks. Have we always been a perfect couple? No! We’ve had some knock-down-drag-outs like the best of them. We've thrown wedding rings out the window, exploded sandwiches into hair — you get the picture. And yet, here we are still craving each other like it’s our first date.


Then you have the couple who met the two-year dating prerequisite, took the plunge after they were financially secure, and still reported being in love. Different ride, but similar results.

Research says this is what predicts how good your marriage will be:

So what’s the secret? It’s not about how long you date. It’s about who you date. In our culture, we place so much emphasis on when we first meet our soulmate and don't like to think about all the work it takes going forward. Once you wake from the lust haze and see your partner and situation for what they truly are, it gets labor-intensive. It’s not about finding your soulmate. It’s about finding your workmate — someone who will fight with AND for you. It doesn’t matter how long you date, it’s about making the choice to turn toward your partner when life gets hard. Choose to keep things hot in the midst of feuding kids and cleaning up the dog's latest mess.


RELATED: The One Daily Behavior For A Long, Happy Marriage, According To Research

What does this study tell us? Honestly, it shows that we’re simply catching the ones who would've fallen off the marital bandwagon, regardless. They simply waited a few years longer before they made their way down the aisle. The idea that you're too stuck in your ways if you wait too long to marry is ludicrous. If that plays any role, it's minuscule and NOT a game changer.

So, how CAN you maintain a good marriage? 

Here are 3 ways to maintain a good marriage:

1. Slow down

If you don’t, you’ll both end up going down different paths and living two very separate lives. It’s seductive to keep the pace society has set for us, but I guarantee that if you do slow down, you’ll increase your odds of marital success more than if you buy into the idea that bigger is better.




RELATED: 25 Experts Explain What Choices Make A Marriage Actually Work Long-Term

2. Simplify

The amount of stuff we buy and activities we sign up for is INSANE! Once you notice that something has run amok in your marriage, it’s going to take a lot to find your way back to each other. Stop saying, "Yes" to meaningless purchases and volunteering for events that don’t fill your happiness bucket. Focus on each other — you know, like you did in the beginning.



RELATED: A Marriage Scientist Shares How He Predicts Relationship Success With 94% Accuracy


3. Savor 

Do you remember how long your goodbyes were in the good ol' days? Forever. You couldn’t stop touching, kissing, and looking into each other’s eyes. Now we run so fast through life that we don’t take the time to enjoy the in-between moments that hold it all together. Whether you’ve dated for six weeks or six years, what matters is how you choose to love each other after saying, "I do." Are you going to get sucked into the pseudo-American dream and buy, buy, buy, or are you going to do it differently and create an epic love story for your kids to experience? If you've gotten off track with your partner, go to him or her right now and make the choice to live to love better.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Enhance Your Marriage Without Even Interacting With Your Husband

Jessica M. Miller is a relationship, personal development, and motivational coach. She's the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice.