Healthy Living

Your Engagement Ring Price Tag Could Predict A Marriage Ending In Divorce

An Expensive Engagement Ring Predicts Divorce
The pricier the engagement ring and wedding, the more ominous the forecast for a happy marriage. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

After putting in years, or possibly months of investing commitment, patience, and love into your boyfriend, he finally gets down on one knee. But the price tag of the engagement ring he places on your finger will predict your likelihood of divorce. Researchers from Emory University set out to find out how long a diamond would last in a marriage if it was more or less expensive.

There is a nationwide misconception that the more glamorous and over the top your celebration of unity is, the more likely you’ll stay true to your vows and be together to the very end. Researchers found after surveying 3,000 adults who had been married at some point in their lives, the more money they spent on their engagement ring or wedding, the lower the chance was of them staying together.

"Our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes," the study’s authors wrote. Even if you can afford an elaborate wedding, where expenses aren’t a stress factor or what decides if you should rent the biggest venue or a more modest location to celebrate, it doesn't ensure a long, happy marriage.

In fact, a man who spent between $2,000 to $4,00 on an engagement ring was 1.3 times more likely to end up in a divorce than the man who spent a frugal $500 to $2,000 on the ring. Same findings go for the amount spent on their wedding. A woman with a $20,000 wedding was 3.5 times more likely to end up in a divorce than a woman who spent $5,000 to $10,000.

It may all come down to financial stress, which is the number one cause of divorce in the United States. Last year, a study from Kansas State University revealed couples who argued about money early in their relationship were at greater risk for divorce and interrupting marital longevity sooner rather than later. If a couple spends outside of their price range, it’s no wonder why financial stress is going to occur from the start and cause a dangerous ripple effect that could last in legal papers.

Spending lavish amounts of money on each other to prove your love, testify to your union, or solidify a long life together should make partners reconsider the value of their wallets. Divorce rates and wedding spending are higher than they’ve ever been. By looking back to spending and weddings 70 years ago, today’s couple could learn the value of their money and how it can’t buy marital bliss.

"Prior to World War II, in Western countries, only 10 percent of engagement rings contained a diamond,” researchers wrote. “By the end of the century, about 80 percent did. In 2012, total expenditures on diamond rings were roughly $7 billion in the United States."

Source: Francis AM, Mialon HM. ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration. SSRN. 2014.

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