Predicting with 100% certainty is a myth, no one can do it; not even Nostradamus, and damn he is one of the most famous predictors of all time. However, people and civilization have come a long way from studying birds, tea leaves and the entrails of animals.
Social science algorithms can predict things about the human behavior pretty accurately nowadays. And as always, relationships and marriages are at the top of their list.
So let’s look at the seven factors that recent studies show that they predict divorces quite well:
1. Age of marriage
If it’s in your teens or after you are 32. This has shown to cause significant problems and issues. This is because in the former case, you simply aren’t ready to face the complexities of a marital relationship while in the latter case; you are far too used to your life as it is to make any significant changes.
Professor Nicholas Wolfinger of the University of Utah found a simple proportional relationship: for every year after the age of 32, add a 5% increase in your chances of getting divorced. He recommends marriages in the mid or late twenties. The subjects at that age are appropriately matured and equipped enough to handle the complexities of marriage.
The 2015 issue of the journal Economic Inquiry correlated increasing age gap between the spouses with higher chance of getting divorced.
Megan Garber elaborated on this in the Atlantic.
2. Husband not having a full time job
This is an interesting one. This is because it is not exactly the fact that finances might be on the stricter side, but the fact that the spouses do not divide the responsibilities among themselves equally that make this risky.
The study that stated this was done in Harvard and published in the American Sociological Review.
3. The education of the spouses
Might seem a bit harsh but researchers say it is true: educated couples are less likely to get divorced. This is because the lesser the education, the more the stress later because it directly consequences into poorer careers. Eli Finkel had said the same thing about productive happy marriages being difficult if you have to switch two or three routes to get to your job. This was published in the Business Insider.
4. Being contemptuous towards your partner
Showing too much contempt and hostility towards your spouse is a no-brainer on this particular list. John Gottman from the University of Washington calls these things the four horsemen of apocalypse in a marriage: contempt, criticism, stonewalling or blocking off conversation as soon as things don’t make you come out winning, and defensiveness. This study was part of a 14 year study Gottman did in America’s Mid-West. It was reported by Erin Brodwin. Psychologist Robert Levenson was also part of the program.
5. Too much intimacy as newlyweds
Too much sugar in a new relationship can spell trouble too. Ted Huston conducted a study with 169 couples to conclude this.
Aviva Patz wrote in Psychology Today how intensity of romance that was hard to maintain was something that caused problems later.
6. Shutting down during a hostile situation
This is something even people just dating face.
A study conducted in 2013 and published in the Journal of Marriage and Family said such “withdrawal” symptoms affect married couples even more than previously believed. In the same year, a study published in Communication Monographs stated not only withdrawal symptoms, but also demand, that is pressurising a partner when he/she is silent, can also be fatal for a marriage.
7. The “Oral History” interviews
In 1992, Gottman and his team had subjected his subjects to what he called the “oral history” interview.
The basic premise was gauging the couple’s reaction to certain criteria related questions about their marriage.
The criteria were:
- How they would quantify the fondness they had for each other.
- How much each spouse emphasized the unity of the marriage.
- How elaborate the other was to what one was saying.
- Disappointment with the marriage.
- Quantifying the chaos and hurdles of the marriage.