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Reality Show Couple Splits. Should We Have Seen it Coming?

A couple who married on the set of a Lifetime reality show has announced they are divorcing after one year together.

Couple Splits

In what some might call a new take on the prearranged marriage, Cody Knapek and Danielle DeGroot were part of “Married at First Sight,” a show that pairs three couples based on scientific matchmaking. They legally marry the moment they meet.

The producers throw the newlywed couples several life lines in the form of relationship experts throughout the series. Each couple decides at the end of the season whether to remain married or go their separate ways. Even though DeGroot didn’t feel a spark for her husband and she had hesitated to consummate the marriage, the couple agreed at the time to remain married.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that they called it quits a year later. How do you form a lifelong bond with someone you marry the moment you meet?

There is a connection between courtship and marital success, said Ted Huston, a professor of human ecology and psychology based at the University of Texas at Austin. In a study of 168 marriages he began studying in 1979, Huston found much could be learned about a couple’s likelihood of going the distance based on “the tempo of their courtship,” according to a Psychology Today article.

Huston found that happily married couples dated for an average of 25 months. There were marked correlations between length of courtship and marriage length in the marriages that did not last, the article stated.
Couples who divorced after being married between two and seven years “tended to hold off on exclusively dating one another, and married around the three-year mark,” Huston found.

Another discovery during Huston’s study was that courtships filled with romance did not guarantee the couple would remain married, but they did indicate a longer marriage before ending in divorce, the article stated.

In 2006, psychologist Scott Randall Hansen interviewed 952 people in California who had been married for at least three years. He also found a positive correlation between length of courtship and reported marital satisfaction, according to a New Republic article.

Emory University researchers Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon studied 3,000 married couples in the U.S. to determine the factors that predicted divorce, according to The Atlantic. Once again, they found a correlation between courtship length and marital success.

Couples that dated one to two years before tying the knot were 20 percent less likely to divorce, but couples who dated three or more years were 39 percent less likely to divorce, The Atlantic article stated.

Francis and Mialon identified other divorce indicators that, according to their study, should have worked in favor of Knapek and DeGroot, provided we can assume the show paid for the couple’s wedding. The researchers found that the less a couple spent on their wedding, the less likely they were to divorce.

The show filmed Knapek and DeGroot on their honeymoon in St. Thomas. Francis and Mialon’s study found that couples who went on a honeymoon were 41 percent less likely to divorce.

Still, it wasn’t enough to save the marriage. For all of the risk and uncertainty that this reality show hinges on, it’s a relief to know that prenuptial agreements are signed by the participants, said John Griffith, a San Diego family lawyer. People involved in the show’s production have told media outlets that the agreement is brief, but states that what each individual brings to the marriage is what they leave with, should they divorce.

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