I have a little diamond on my engagement ring, which is an antique that belonged to my great-grandmother who got married in the late 1920s. I love my ring and have never wished for a bigger diamond (diamonds are pretty and all; I’ve just never personally cared about having a big, sparkly one). And now I have reason to appreciate my own engagement ring (and wedding band) even more. A new study conducted by economics professors from Emory University found that “participants who spent large sums of money on engagement rings (over $2,000) were 1.3 times more likely to end up divorced than men who spent $500 to $2,000. (and, fittingly, “women who received expensive engagement rings also experienced higher rates of divorce”).
Interestingly, though, spending too little on an engagement ring is also a predictor of divorce. Those who spent less than $500 on their partner’s engagement ring experienced higher rates of divorce. (And I guess, since my ring is a family heirloom, we fall into that category of spending less than $500 on it. But! If I remember right, my wedding band was $700, so BAM! We’re safe.). Maybe spending something significant (which I think most of us wouldn’t consider $500 to be) appropriately symbolizes the significance one places on getting married, without breaking the bank doing so.
The researchers hypothesize that spending more on a ring than couples can afford puts financial stress on them as they begin their married lives together, leading to marital tension.
“The researchers place some blame on the wedding industry for creating a new standard over the past fifty years through ad campaigns, magazines and inflated costs that encourage brides and grooms to spend, spend, spend.” I find this particularly interesting since my “20 Wedding Must-Haves You Don’t Need” was published on HuffPost recently and received some really nasty, mean comments. Out of curiosity, I looked up the profiles of many of those commenters and guess what? They ALL worked in the wedding industry. Guess they don’t want word to get out that you can actually have a beautiful wedding and a perfectly happy marriage without going into debt.
“Our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive [engagement rings and] weddings with positive marital outcomes,” the study states. A-fucking-men.
Related: How I threw a budget wedding in New York City.