“All you need is love” goes the refrain of the popular song by the Beatles, but when it comes to marriage it appears that much less romantic considerations determine the success or failure of a relationship. Yes, couples do live happily after going down the aisle, but whether both or one or neither of them smoke cigarettes may be more of a factor in the long-term success than their love.
A couple’s age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the Australian National University.
The study — “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” — tracked nearly 2,500 couples from 2001 to 2007 to identify factors associated with those who remained together compared with those who divorced or separated.
The study says “‘good’ marriages – those at lower risk of dissolution” can be identified in “‘laundry’ list [that] might read”:
> husband 1 year to 3 years older than wife
> husband and wife have similar preference for a(nother) child
> husband and wife have same level of education
> Both consume 0-2 standard drinks per day
> Both do not smoke
> Equivalized income of $30,000 to 39,000
> Husband work 35 or more hours per week
> Husband perceives the family as comfortable to prosperous
> Both sets of parents did not separate/divorce
> Husband’s age at marriage is 30-34
> No children born before marriage
> The wife would like another child
Among other conclusions, the study stated that
> a husband who is nine or more years older than his wife is twice as likely to get divorced, as are husbands who get married before they turn 25;
> one-fifth of couples who have kids before marriage — either from a previous relationship or in the same relationship — having separated compared to just nine percent of couples without children born before marriage;
> women who want children much more than their partners are also more likely to get a divorce;
> some 16 percent of men and women whose parents ever separated or divorced experienced marital separation themselves compared to 10 percent for those whose parents did not separate;
> partners on their second or third marriage are 90 percent more likely to separate than spouses who are both in their first 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;
> couples where one partner, and not the other, smokes are also more likely to have a relationship that ends in failure.