Study Finds Expensive Engagement Rings Linked to Higher Divorce Rates

ringA diamond is forever, and marriage is supposed to be, as well. However, a new study conducted by economics professors at Emory University in Atlanta, GA suggests that the bigger — and therefore more expensive — the diamond engagement ring is, the shorter the marriage may be.

The study surveyed 3,000 men and women in the United States who had been married at some point during their lives. Data from the study suggests that participants who spent large amounts on their engagement rings, weddings, or both were ultimately more likely to divorce.

Men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on engagement rings were 1.3 times more like to have their marriages end in divorce than men who spent $500 to $2,000. On the flipside, women who received expensive bling were also subject to higher divorce rates. Talk about being ice cold.

The study also went on to find that women whose wedding ceremonies cost $20,000 or more were at least 3.5 times more likely to end divorced as opposed to women who spent between $5,000 and $10,000. Keep in mind that the typical cost of a wedding in the United States is roughly $30,000, according to data from wedding website The Knot. On the other hand, those who spent $1,000 or less on a wedding reduced their chances of divorce.

However, spending too little on an engagement ring isn’t a good idea, either. According to the study, those who spent $500 or less on an engagement ring experienced higher divorce rates.

The study’s authors theorize that the link between expensive engagement and wedding costs and divorce may be tied to the financial stress placed on brides and grooms who are focused on having the perfect day at all costs, whether they can afford it or not.

“To further illustrate this theory, women whose engagement rings cost over $2,000 were up to three times more likely to complain about financial stress related to wedding debt,” says Craig L Cook, Founder of The Law Offices of Craig Cook. “On the other hand, and predictably, couples who spent $1,000 or less on their nuptials were 82-93% less likely to be stressed out over the cost of getting hitched.”

“Marriage is a complicated institution today. In life and in negotiation, it always seems that you always have to find a sweet spot for balance no matter what the situation is.”
It seems like common sense that overspending on an engagement ring or wedding would cause undue financial stress, so why do so many couples do it? Researchers place some of the blame on the media and wedding industry, for painting an idyllic yet unrealistic picture of what a wedding should be, through advertisements and marketing campaigns that encourage brides and grooms to spend beyond their means. Wedding reality TV shows also play into the hype, leaving many couples feeling as though they need to keep up with the Kardashians or other celebrity power couples

Researchers also found that having more guests, in addition to having a honeymoon, also led to longer marriages — possibly pointing to the beneficial effects of friendship and relaxation during the process of putting a ring on it.

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