Unmarried individuals hoping to have a successful marriage can turn their attention to a new study that sheds some light on the potential steps individuals and couples can take to help guarantee wedded bliss.
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The study, "Before 'I Do:' What Do Premarital Experiences Have to Do with Marital Quality Among Today's Young Adults?" by psychologists Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley with the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project, found that wedding size and the number of premarital sexual partners are just two of the factors that could have an impact on marriage, according to the Christian Post.
While one might assume that past relationships are simply left in the dust, the study's authors argue that these past romances and their consequences have an impact on the future of one's marriage, claiming, for example, that "men and women who had a child before marriage are less likely to enjoy a high-quality marriage.
Rhoades explained that those with a lot of experience before marriage might find themselves comparing their partners to past love interests — a factor that could create some contention.
"In most areas, more experience is better. You're a better job candidate with more experience, not less," she said, according to the Christian Post. "When it comes to relationship experience, though, we found that having more experience before getting married was associated with lower marital quality."
And when it comes to what the authors called "major relationship transitions," they found that couples who make specific and intentional decisions about these changes are more likely to find success than those who simply "slide" into decisions.
So, even when it comes to cohabitation before marriage, those who make a solid plan surrounding living together are more likely to find success than couples who simply "slide" into such a decision without being intentional about it, according to the authors.
The third factor that Rhoades and Stanley cover in the study is an intriguing one: the number of attendees at one's wedding, as they argue that this could have an impact on marital success.
"Americans who had more guests at their nuptials are more likely to report high-quality marriages than those with a small wedding party, even after controlling for their education and income," the two reported.
Consider that among individuals with 50 wedding guests of fewer, only 31 percent reported having a high marriage quality. For those with between 51 and 149 guests, this proportion ticked up to 37 percent — and it went even higher to 47 percent for those with 150 or more attendees, the Post reported.
To retrieve and analyze this data, Rhoades and Stanley examined survey information derived from the University of Denver's Relationship Development Study in which 1,000 Americans between between the ages of 18 and 34 who were unmarried but in a committed relationship with a member of the opposite sex, were analyzed starting in 2007 and 2008.
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Over a five-year period, 418 of these individuals got married and, through 11 waves if research, their decisions and past relationships were analyzed in detail, offering Rhoades and Stanley insight into some intriguing factors. Read the complete report here.
Feldhahn, who conducted an extensive eight-year research study on the subject, says that the actual divorce rate has never even gotten close to 50 percent, that churchgoers have significantly lower divorce rates and that most marriages are actually successful.
(H/T: Christian Post)
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