In my years as a Premarital Therapist, many couples have confided in me about how they would like to spend their big day. I thought I had heard everything when it comes to wedding planning, from difficult in-laws to budgeting struggles.
However, a National Marriage Project report recently caught my eye. In it, researchers found a correlation between long, happy marriages and two characteristics of the couple’s wedding.
1. Guest list
The first wedding characteristic is the number of guests who attended the wedding. The report results showed that couples with more guests at their wedding experience a lower risk of divorce and a higher quality of marriage. This was true even when religion, income, education, and race were controlled. Couples with fewer than 50 wedding guests received a 31% on the high quality marriage scale while those with more than 150 wedding guests scored 47% on the scale. This could be due to the fact that couples with larger weddings have many friends and family that support their union and were witnesses to the marriage.
The second wedding characteristic in the findings showed that those couples that had expensive weddings were not happier in their marriage. Couples who spent more than $20,000 on their wedding had a higher (32%) risk of divorce. This could be due to the fact that high spending typically leads to conflict and stress.
Although how a couple approaches a wedding may impact the happiness of their marriage, this is only one study. A variety of other factors can also contribute to the longevity and happiness of a marriage.
The underlying lesson I learned from this study is that some couples plan more for the wedding than the actual marriage. The wedding is only one day whereas a marriage should be forever. Focusing on the commitment, intimacy, and love you as a couple share is much more important than any detail of your wedding.