Is there such a thing as a honeymoon phase? Is your marriage doomed if you despise your in-laws? Can husbands drive wives to drink? These questions and more were answered this year. WomansDay.com rounded up the 10 most interesting studies-and shocking results-of 2012. Take a look, and your own marriage just may benefit. Photo by Image Source.
1. Getting cold feet may predict whether you'll get divorced.
Pre-wedding jitters are pretty common. At least one partner in two-thirds of couples in a small Los Angeles-area study reported getting them. But that same study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology in September, found that both men and women who reported pre-wedding hesitation showed higher divorce rates, with 12% of couples with at least one once cold-footed spouse calling it quits before their four-year anniversary. The number's even more staggering when women are the ones who were nervous about getting married. Nineteen percent of them filed for divorce within four years of their weddings, making them two times more likely than doubt-free brides to split from their partners. The bottom line: Cold feet isn't a perfectly normal feeling. Listen to your gut, ladies!
2. Marriage drives women to drink more and men to drink less.
Happily ever after can mean more happy hours for wives. According to a University of Cincinnati study released in August, a married woman sips about nine drinks per month compared to divorced women's 6.5. But husbands consume less than divorced men with 19 drinks a month compared to 22. Studies have proven that single men drink more than single women, so researchers suspect that women consume more to keep up with their spouses' drinking habits, while men cut back to match their mates. And once a marriage is over, divorced men and women may drink as much (or as little) as they imbibed in their pre-wedding days.
3. Marriage can help heart-surgery patients survive.
Matrimony's marvelous for more matters of the heart than we thought. Published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, research found people who underwent a coronary artery bypass while married were three times more likely than singles to be alive three months later-and 2.5 times more likely to survive five years post-op. The stronger and happier the marriage, the higher the chances women survived after surgery. (Men benefitted regardless of the state of their marriage.) Researchers think having a partner to support healthy lifestyle changes plays a big role in recovering.
Related: Discover 8 surprising health benefits of sex.
4. Marriage proposals from men are preferred.
It's rumored that Zsa Zsa Gabor, Britney Spears and Elizabeth Taylor have popped the question to the men in their lives. But researchers at the University of California don't necessarily think ladies should follow their lead. Not a single heterosexual college student in their small study, which made headlines in December, believed women should definitely ask men to marry them. On the other hand, two-thirds of the group agreed men should propose. Even at the relatively liberal university where the study was conducted, traditions seem to die hard, at least when it comes to marriage.
Related: Check out 10 marriage rules you should break.
5. A good relationship with your in-laws may change your divorce odds.
As long as both spouses get along with the other's family, you're set, right? Not the case, says researcher Terri Orbuch, PhD. When sons-in-law reported a good relationship with their wives' parents in Dr. Orbuch's 26-year-long study, which made headlines in November, the divorce rate was reduced by 20%. But wives who were friendly with their significant others' parents were 20% more likely to get divorced. Why? At a certain point, wives may view their in-laws' input as intrusive, says Dr. Orbuch. Meanwhile, husbands tend not to take anything personally. So setting boundaries with your in-laws and not appeasing them all the time may help your marriage last.
6. White married couples live longer than white unmarried partners who live together.
Eating well and exercising does wonders for extending your life, and so might tying the knot for some people, according to the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati discovered that Caucasian married couples' mortality rates are significantly lower-by 60% for men and 80% for women-compared to unmarried couples who cohabit. This isn't the case for African American couples, though. It could be because white couples generally don't view cohabitation as marriage, so their mortality rates are unaffected by living together. Conversely, black couples may deem cohabitation and marriage to be on the same level, allowing them to reap the health benefits of marriage before walking down the aisle. The study didn't look at interracial couples or couples of other races.
7. There's no such thing as a honeymoon phase.
Are those first few years of matrimony the happiest? Probably not. The Australian Centre on Quality of Life released research in November which shows newlyweds aren't as content as commonly thought. When asked to rate their marital bliss from one to 100, couples married for one year gave an average rating of 73.9, while the numbers of couples married for four decades or more averaged 79.8. New couples may experience a "wedding hangover" when faced with the tough decisions and transitions of being husband and wife, says the study's lead author Melissa Weinberg, PhD. That could cause the lower happiness level. So it may be worth it to tough out those post-wedding blues since true bliss may be down the road.
8. Women close to divorcing work more hours.
If your marriage is in trouble, you'd think the last thing you'd do is burn the midnight oil at the office. Well, the November 2012 edition of the European Economic Review released findings that revealed women clock an extra 12 minutes per week for every 1% increase in the risk of a marital breakdown. With divorce looming, women don't necessarily work longer hours to get their minds off things. Instead, lead researcher Berkay Özcan, PhD, explains it's a "form of insurance." In other words, they either want to make more money or further secure their positions at work, just in case they do end up divorcing their spouses and losing the income their partners bring in.
Related: Learn which 9 fights you should have with your husband.
9. Married people are more likely to be employed.
Having trouble getting a job? Getting hitched may help. Data in a November report from Insee, a national statistics institute in France, shows that almost 95% of married 30- to 54-year-olds are employed. Meanwhile, only 77% of single men and 78% of single women of the same age have jobs. Although many other factors contribute to unemployment, supporting a family is a strong incentive to secure a job.
10. Couples who share housework equally are more likely to divorce.
Sad but possibly true: Splitting chores or leaving house tasks to husbands may up your chances of heading to Splitsville, according to a Norwegian study released in August. Couples who divvy up household duties are 50% more likely to divorce than couples in which the women do the bulk of the work. The rate goes up even higher the more men take on chores. Researchers remind that the findings shouldn't be interpreted to mean that couples shouldn't split housework equally. It's simply an implication that modern couples, who are more apt to share duties traditionally delegated to women, may not view marriage traditionally either, and are less fearful of divorcing.
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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