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Age Can Predict Marital Success

divorce predictorI bet you didn’t need to read a study to know this: The greater the age difference between a married couple, the greater the divorce risk.

That is what data scientist Randy Olson confirmed in a study where he broke down a variety of marriage factors.

“The closer a couple is in birth age, the greater the chance their marriage will last,” according to a Financial News Watch article.

Olson researched information from more than 3,000 Americans who had recently married and divorced to reach his conclusion. Couples who are within a year of each other in age are least likely to divorce. A one-year difference in ages increases the likelihood of divorce by three percent. Olson found that spouses who have a 5-year age difference between them have an 18 percent higher chance of divorce. A 20-year age difference makes a married couple 95 percent more likely to get divorced.

One reason age predicts divorce so reliably is because age differences are accompanied by “differences in life experiences, stages, and generational cultures,” the article states.

Every statistic deserves to have an exception brought to light, and you need look no further than crooner Tony Bennett and his wife of 10 years, Susan. Bennett will be 91 in August. His wife is 40 years younger than him.

Although separated by generations, Bennett told Page Six the couple’s first connection predate’s Susan’s birth. Bennett posed for a photograph with Susan’s parents in 1966 –while Susan’s mother was pregnant with her.

Sadly, the supporting evidence far outweighs the exceptions to the rule in Tinseltown. The graveyard of broken relationships among those with expansive age differences is littered with the likes of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (24 years apart), Rupert Murdoch and Wendy Deng (38 years apart), Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (15 years apart), Clint Eastwood and Dina Ruiz-Eastwood (35 years apart) and Nicholas Cage and Alice Kim (20 years apart).

Other Signs Your Marriage Might be Doomed

Age obviously isn’t the only divorce predictor. University of Washington psychologist John Gottman, who founded the Gottman Institute, and University of California-Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson identified four behaviors that “could predict which marriages would end in divorce with striking precision,” according to Business Insider. Their method was accurate 93 percent of the time. The behaviors are:

  • Stonewalling- Refusing to take part in conversation when you feel an argument coming on.
  • Contempt- A toxic mix of anger and disgust, sprinkled with feelings of being “above” your partner.
  • Criticism- Forming a belief about your partner based on their actions or behavior.
  • Defensiveness- Routinely acting as the victim in the relationship.

Keep this information in mind if you’re planning to walk down the aisle soon. You can’t change a huge age gap, but you can take measures to curb these marriage-dooming behaviors.

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Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

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Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

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Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


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