Small Wedding = Divorce?

We had 10 people at our wedding.

Now a new study says the more people who witness your union, the better your chances for a happy marriage.

Uh oh.

(Disclaimer: we've been married 20 years.)

The study found that the more people who attend your wedding to share in the launch of your marriage, the better the chances you will be happily married years down the road. And, somewhat counter-intuitively, the more relationships you had prior to your marriage, the less likely you are to report a high-quality marriage, according to

 "The study challenges the idea that 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' – the general notion that what happens in one’s younger years, before marriage, stays there and doesn’t impact the remainder of one’s life," newswise reports.

How people conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is linked to their odds of having happy marriages, the study’s authors argue. Past experiences, especially when it comes to love, sex and children, are associated with future marital quality.

Here's where I dispute that again.  Growing up in the "make love not war" generation in the 70s,  everyone had multiple partners, including my husband and me.  And we're still together (we've actually been together 31 years).

We've even beaten another divorce-enhancing stat -- we lived together before we got married.  For 10 years.

Study co-author Galena K. Rhoades, research associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver, said, “In most areas, more experience is better. You’re a better job candidate with more experience, not less. When it comes to relationship experience, though, we found that having more experience before getting married was associated with lower marital quality.”

Here's why: the more relationships you have, the more you can compare your spouse to those who came before. (Disclaimer:  Sometimes I do.)  Marriage involves leaving behind other options, which may be harder to do with a lot of experience, the researchers say.

More relationship experiences prior to marriage also means more experience breaking up, which may make for a more jaundiced view of love and relationships, Rhoades said. It’s also possible that some people have personality characteristics – such as liking to take risks or being harder to get along with – that both increase their odds of having many relationship experiences and decrease their odds of marital success, she added.

I'm much more excited by change than my husband.  I love variety and new experiences.  He, not so much.  But we've made it work -- you could say his steadiness offsets my fondness for risk-taking.

So, is there hope for us?  Since I've spent the majority of my adult life with my husband, I don't see too many chances of us going our separate ways, even without the DJ and dessert table and asking for cash gifts.  


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