Study Says Love Is Not Enough for a Marriage to Last

Researchers determine the factors at play for marital bliss

By on July 15th, 2009 17:21 GMT
It’s no longer a secret that researchers have been busily working on finding the “recipe” for love and, at the same time, for a happy marriage. In their never-ending quest, they have managed not only to prove that true love does, indeed, last forever, but, just recently, that it also takes more than just love to make a marriage work, as Reuters informs.

Researchers in Australia undertook the not-too-easy task of tracking 2,500 couples (either married or living together) for an interval of six years (2001 to 2007) to determine whether there were other factors as well at play in a happy marriage. Not in the least surprisingly, at the end of the period, they learned that love was not the only thing that mattered when it came to making marriage work, since things like whether the two had lived together before their “I Do’s,” whether they smoked, age and pay gaps also weighed heavily in the balance, the news agency says.

“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” the study in question, established, based on the analysis of the 2,500 couples, that not even love was strong enough to overcome age barriers, despite whatever we might have heard on the topic before. Thus, a husband who is nine or more years his wife’s senior has twice as many chances of asking for a divorce than men in relationships with women their age. The same percentage goes for men who marry before they’re 25.

Wanting to have children is also extremely important for marital bliss, especially if both partners do not wish to become parents to the same extent. For instance, the research has found that women who want children more than their spouses are more likely to ask for divorce later on. Partners with children from a previous relationship or couples who become parents before marriage are also doomed for a separation, the study has also found.

As expected, money is also very important in a marriage. “Up to 16 percent of respondents who indicated they were poor or where the husband – not the wife – was unemployed saying they had separated, compared with only nine percent of couples with healthy finances.” Reuters says. As it happens, this is not where the list of things that can save or doom a marriage ends, since smoking too is a very influential factor, with researchers showing the “mixed” couples (a smoker with a non-smoker) are less likely to make it happily ever after, as opposed to those whose partners smoke together or not at all.

The “What’s Love Got to Do with It” has been written by Dr. Rebecca Kippen and Professor Bruce Chapman from The Australian National University, and Dr. Peng Yu from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, as Reuters informs. 

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