Marrying Someone Your Own Age Cuts Your Chance of Divorce, Says New Study

happy married couple in woodsMost of us think compatibility and love are the greatest predictors of marital success, but research keeps proving otherwise. Or at least, there are a whole bunch of factors that supposedly determine whether you stay hitched or end up splitting. Like how big your wedding is or how long you dated before you say "I do." And now, a new study says that age difference matters, as well.

The study, which compiled polling data from more than 3,000 recently married and divorced Americans, used a multivariate model to calculate the factors that seemed to best predict the marriage's chances of success. Turns out, the closer you are in age, the less likely you are to divorce.


Being one year apart from your partner makes you 3 percent more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts). If there's a 5-year difference, you're 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference? You're 39 percent more likely to end your marriage. And apparently, it just gets worse and worse the further apart you are in age. Eek!

Of course the researchers admit there are exceptions to these findings, and thank goodness for that! Pretty sure most successfully, happily married couples I know defy this "logic." Think about it: How many people do you know who are actually the same age as their spouse?

Further, I'd argue that an age difference can make you more interesting to one another. Sure, being of two different generations might mean you don't see eye to eye on what old sitcoms to watch (he loves Three's Company, you're more into Friends), but I know an age gap can also work to a couple's advantage. My mother -- who is 7.5 years younger than my father -- gets a kick out of the fact that my dad came of age right in the heart of the free-spirited '60s, when she was just a tween. She loves his stories of Animal House-ish antics in college. He probably thinks it's funny that she was just a tyke when The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

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We could all stand to see the world a little differently sometimes, and what better way to do that than from an older or younger (if even slightly) spouse?

In the end, we can't exactly argue with this study's findings, but it's fair to say that age is just one factor of many that could color your relationship -- and influence whether or not you're able to make it last.

Do you believe age difference influences your chances of divorce this much? How far apart are you and your spouse -- or ex?

Image © Samantha Mitchell/Corbis

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