Wedding Rings: Price Linked to Marriage Happiness

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For decades now American weddings have been growing more extravagant. One need look only as far back as a few weeks to George Clooney's ambitious Venice wedding to see just how grand these occasions have become.

Alongside these massive weddings, engagement rings have also grown to outrageous proportions. The massive diamond seen in Kim Kardashian's latest engagement ring is proof enough of this.

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With all this money being thrown around on starting a marriage, it would seem to follow that such spending would make couples more happy. A new study has shown, however, that this may not be the case. In fact, it could be the other way around.

The study, published by the Social Science Research Network, has found an inverse link between spending on weddings and engagement rings and the subsequent duration of a marriage. The study's authors, both economics professors at Emory University, stated that their findings found "little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry's general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes."

The study found that men spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on a wedding ring were more likely to divorce than men spending less. Specifically, men spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on a ring were 1.3 times more likely to divorce than men who spent just $500 to $2,000 on an engagement ring.

A similar pattern was found for wedding expenses, though differences were found based on genders. Men with weddings costing $1,000 or less were half as likely to divorce than the average man surveyed, while women with weddings costing $20,000 or more were almost 1.6 times more likely to divorce than the average woman in the study.

The story does change at the far ends of the spectrum. Overall, having no engagement ring or spending below $1,000 on a wedding were both associated with a greater likelihood of divorce. Similarly, spending $8,000 or more on an engagement ring was associated with a lower likelihood of divorce.

The study surveyed over 3,100 Americans who are or have been married. The survey polled respondents on factors such as engagement ring expenses, wedding expenses, wedding attendance, age, employment status, and religious attendance. The study's authors narrowed the results to respondents between the ages of 13 and 60 while also omitting same-sex marriages.