What's love got to do with it? Marital bliss depends on so much more
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:54 AM on 15th July 2009
Researchers found couples who have similar drinking patterns are less likely to split, but if one drinks more it could lead to divorce
It has always been celebrated as the heart of any long lasting marriage. But love, it seems, is little more than a starting point.
Far more important factors must come into play if a bride and groom are to have a hope of living happily ever after, according to academics.
These include the ages of the couple when they marry, their level of education, how much they enjoy a drink and even whether they both smoke.
Researchers came up with the factors by examining the relationships of nearly 2,500 couples over a six-year period. In this time, a quarter of the relationships ended. They concluded that half were likely to have broken down after 25 years.
The reasons they found were what many of us already knew, or at least suspected.
Age is a big factor. Couples who are young when they walk down the aisle will have less idea of what makes the best match, increasing the probability of a break-up later.
But the same applies to those who marry older because the 'marriage market' at that stage in their lives may have produced less-than-perfect partners.
Big differences in the age between husband and wife are also associated with higher rates of divorce, particularly if a wife is nine years or more younger than her husband.
The same applies if the husband is significantly younger than his wife.
Having children from a previous relationship can also take its toll.
The researchers, from the Australian National University, found a husband losing his job can heighten the risk of a break-up, as can generally tough economic times.
And as they toast each other at their wedding, the bride and groom might also do well to note how much each likes to drink.
The researchers found couples who have similar drinking patterns are less likely to face a marriage bust-up. But high consumption by either partner could lead to the divorce courts.
The same applies to smoking - if both enjoy lighting up there is less risk of separation, but if one smokes and the other abstains they are more likely to end up going their separate ways.
Education also plays a vital part in the success of a marriage, according to the research. A husband and wife who each have a degree are more likely to remain together than couples who do not have higher educational qualifications.
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- I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.