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Researchers predict a rosy future for those marriages where men tie the knot with women who are not only cleverer than them but also younger by at least five years.
Also, according to them, the relationship was more likely to go the whole nine yards if neither of the partners had been divorced in the past.
Lead researcher Dr Emmanuel Fragniere stated, "It appears men and women ‘choose’ their mates on the basis of love, physical attraction, similarity of taste, beliefs and attitudes, and shared values.
"However, the longevity of marriages also depends on objective factors. Matching individuals according to a small number of objective criteria such as age, education and cultural origin may help reduce divorce."
Analysis of data
The researchers studied interviews with 1,534 Swiss couples who were either married or involved in a serious relationship. Five years later they tracked 1,074 couples and examined the patterns among those who were still hitched and those that had separated.
Analyzing data about age, education, nationality and earlier relationships they found some common factors that led to couples splitting up. They then examined the factors thoroughly to build a profile of an ideal marriage and one that was doomed.
Factors for an ideal marriage
The researchers found age was an important factor for matrimonial harmony. They discovered that if the wife was five or more years older to her husband, the chances of the couple ending in the divorce courts was three times more as opposed to those that were of the same age.
In addition, if the wife was five or more years younger to her husband, the marriage was least fraught with marital woes, with divorce rate six times lower.
Good education was also vital for stability in a relationship. The chances of a marriage lasting were bleak if neither the husband nor wife were educated.
The researchers noted that if the wife is more educated than her spouse the chances of staying together was eight times more than if they both lacked education. However, if the husband is more qualified than his wife the marriage is three times more secure.
The analysis of the data also highlighted that long lasting marital bliss was evident in couples who were never divorced. A marriage in which one partner had gone through a previous break up was less secure than one in which both had hit troubled water in previous marriages and separated.
The research called Optimising the Marriage Market appeared in the European Journal of Operational Research.