Couples with happy marriages were more likely to have had more number of guests at their wedding and have had fewer romantic relationships prior to their wedding.
A study titled, "Before 'I Do:' What Do Premarital Experiences Have to Do with Marital Quality Among Today's Young Adults?" by Galena K. Rhoades, research associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver, and Scott M. Stanley, research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver speculates that apart from having difficulties devoting oneself to a single spouse, individuals who have had prior relationships have problems in their present marriage because they are able to compare their current spouse to previous partners and experiences.
The new study from University of Virginia's National found out successful marriages are linked to wedding size and premarital sexual relations.
The research suggests those with happy marriages were more likely to have had a large number of guests at their wedding and have had fewer romantic relationships prior to getting married.
The researchers speculate that those with prior relationships have difficulties in marriage because they are able to compare their current spouse to previous partners, and devoting oneself to a single spouse may be more difficult after having a lot of experience.
Rhoades said, "In most areas, more experience is better. You're a better job candidate with more experience, not less. When it comes to relationship experience, though, we found that having more experience before getting married was associated with lower marital quality."
Romantic experiences before marriage that included sexual encounters or cohabiting partners, women who had a child from a prior relationship reported lower marital quality, but not true for men.
Among those who lived together before getting married, couples who made a deliberate choice to get married reported to have happier marriages than those who "slid" into cohabiting before getting married.
"We believe that one important obstacle to marital happiness is that many people now slide through major relationship transitions like having sex, moving in together, getting engaged or having a child that have potentially life-altering consequences," Stanley said.
In weddings that have had 50 or fewer wedding guests, the quality of marriage was reported at 31 percent as compared with those who had 51 to 149 guests, whose marriage quality rose to 37 percent. And for those with 150 or more guests, almost half, 47 percent, reported having a high quality marriage often linked to both "formal" weddings and bigger guests lists.
They suggest plighting your troth in front of a bigger crowd encourages you to live up to your promises, and having a strong community of family and friends can help a couple clear life's hurdles more easily.
The researchers suspect that a large wedding indicates that the newlyweds have a strong network of friends and being married in front of a bigger crowd encourages the couple to live up to their promises, also having a strong community of family and friends can help a couple clear life's hurdles more easily.
"In what might be called the 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' factor, this study finds that couples who have larger wedding parties are more likely to report high-quality marriages," said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. "One possibility here is that couples with larger networks of friends and family may have more help, and encouragement, in navigating the challenges of married life. Note, however, this finding is not about spending lots of money on a wedding party, it's about having a good number of friends and family in your corner."
The data has been collected from the Relationship Development Study, which is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This study was conducted 11 different times in 2007 and 2008 and involved 1000 unmarried Americans between the age group of 18 and 34. The study was followed up and looked at the 418 of them that got married over the course of the study.
Stanley's word of advice to any single person who would like to marry some day: "Remember that what you do before you say 'I do' may shape your odds of forging a successful marital future."