Money can't buy happiness. Money also can't buy a lasting marriage. That's the official word from researchers, at least.
According to a recent study by a number of economists, the costly trappings of a wedding, including an expensive engagement ring, are no barrier to a divorce. In fact, the couples who spend the most are most likely to see their marriages falter fast.
What price is considered significant? In terms of the engagement ring, spending more than $2,000 is enough to increase the likelihood of a divorce. Where weddings are concerned, the figures are a little fuzzier.
Spending anything under $1,000 for the whole event will decidedly lower your risk of a divorce. However, you don't significantly raise the risk until the price tag for the wedding exceeds the $20,000 mark. Those who spend somewhere between $1,000 and $20,000 experience similar levels of risk to one another.
Why do these factors lead to more divorces? The experts didn't offer any insight into the issue, but there are some possibilities.
Financial stresses could make marriage harder
The wedding industry isn't exactly shy about pushing couples to spend big on their weddings. However, couples that spend more than they have on hand may be setting themselves up for a problem after the wedding is over.
Those lavish table settings and costly seat covers might not seem like such a worthwhile expense after the day is done and a couple is stuck with the bill. The stress of all those financial obligations left over from the wedding may put an unnecessary strain on marital bliss and lead to divorce.
Expectations don't live up to reality
An expensive ring and fairy tale wedding could be setting unrealistic expectations for the couple. Expensive weddings make everything seem romantic and wonderful, but that level of intense romanticism is hard to maintain day after day in a real relationship. Once the excitement of a lavish engagement and wedding is over, real life may not favorably compare.
On the bright side, the experts also say there is one thing you can spend money on at will that won't lead to a divorce: the honeymoon. There are no obvious negative consequences for big spenders.
Ultimately, of course, divorce is a complex issue with many motivating factors. Studies like this examine trends, not individual cases. Take these kinds of studies under advisement without worrying about your own relationship.