A recent US study analyzed the marriage satisfaction of 20,000 Australians to find out if an age-gap could destroy a relationship
Have you ever considered entering into a marriage with someone with whom you share a large age-gap? If so, you may have wondered if the age difference could eventually destroy the relationship. Well, a recent study published in the Journal of Population Economics revealed which is the optimal age gap for a successful marriage.
Researchers at Deakin University in Australia and the University of Colorado in the USA discovered exactly what type of marriage dynamics satisfy most people. According to the study, men are more satisfied with younger wives and feel dissatisfied with older wives. Similarly, women are more satisfied with younger husbands and feel dissatisfied with older husbands.
What the stats suggest
In other words, an older spouse’s happiness seems to come at the expense of a younger spouse’s happiness! Further to this, within six to ten years, these marriages with age gaps decline in satisfaction for both couples. Furthermore, in a separate study run by Emory University in Atlanta, researchers showed that an age-gap of even five years makes it 18% more likely that the couple will divorce.
Shockingly, divorce rates increased to 39% for couples with a ten-year age difference. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that the separation rate for couples with an age gap of 20 years is a whopping 95%!
The closer in age the better!
The statistical chance of a marriage staying together when the couples are the same age is excellent. With just a single year age gap, the chance of separation is only 3%. It obviously is better to marry someone your own age!
Researchers suggest that this is because we have more in common with someone our own age. The context of the lives of those who were born within the same couple of years as ourselves is so similar, and it acts like a bond. A same-age marriage grows in sync with the natural changes of life. Additionally, couples the same age are on a level playing field, with no power imbalances.
Are age-gap marriages doomed to fail?
With an attitude that the cup is half full, rather than half empty, some may turn the above statistics on their head. It is true, while 39% of couples with a ten year age gap will split up, 61% of those relationships will succeed. Indeed, in the city where celeb divorce is rampant, there are miraculous marriages between age-gapped Hollywood stars that stand the test of time.
For example, Catherine Zeta-Jones is 25 years younger than her husband, Michael Douglas. Both of them are still together in wedded bliss, despite having a brief split in 2013. So they tell the press, anyway. Joan Collins is currently 84 and has been married for 15 years to Percy Gibson, who is 32 years her junior. Again, all reports suggest they are still happily married.
Clearly, an age-gap needn’t mean that your marriage is doomed to fail! So the question remains, what is the secret ingredient that makes a marriage work? Also, what can a couple in an age-gap relationship do in order to make it last? Lastly, it is important for both parties to ask – what does marriage mean to me?
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