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Melissa A. Featherston

You're Breaking My Heart - Valentine's Day Marriages More Likely To End In Divorce

Say it isn't so! A recent study from the Netherlands suggests that people who get married on Valentine's Day and other numerically significant dates (like 9/9/99 or 01/02/2003) are more likely to get divorced than people who get married on ordinary dates.

The University of Melbourne study analyzed 1.1 million Dutch marriage and divorce registries from 1999-2013 and compared the duration of marriages that began on Valentine's Day and other numerically significant dates with marriages began on other dates. Their results were unexpected - the odds of divorce for couples married on "special" dates were 18-36 percent higher than those married on other dates. 

Even the researchers were surprised by some of their findings:

  • Weddings are three times more common on Valentine's Day than on any other day in February.
  • On any given same-number date (e.g., 11/11/11, 12/12/12), there were six times as many weddings as compared to ordinary dates.
  • Couples who married on Valentine's Day were about 31 percent more likely to divorce by their ninth wedding anniversaries than were other couples.
  • People who married on same-number dates were almost 25 percent more apt to divorce.

What does all this mean? Why are these couples more likely to divorce than those married on random weekends?

According to the researchers, this higher rate of divorce has very little to do with the actual dates (sorry, they're not just cursed or unlucky). Instead, it has more to do with the characteristics and personalities of the couples themselves. The study suggests that couples who marry on gimmicky dates have "other vulnerabilities" that make them more susceptible to divorce.

In particular, the couples who got married on special dates:

  • Tended to be less educated
  • Were more likely to already have children at home
  • Were more likely to have been married before
  • Were less compatible in terms of age and education
  • Were more likely to be pregnant on their wedding date

People who marry on ordinary days, however, do so based on the quality and growth of their relationship - these couples are more concerned with "internal progressions and less dependent on external concerns" and appearances, theorize the researchers.

What do you make of this information? Do you give it any credence? Do you know anyone who was married on Valentine's Day or a numerically significant date - and how are they doing today? Let us know in the comments section below.

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