There are many sayings and quotes that attempt to dispel the belief that age matters. While some people may choose to live their lives driven by the notion that “age is just a number” and “you’re only as old as you feel,” when it comes to relationships, research indicates that age differences between spouses can significantly impact whether or not a couple subsequently divorces.

Just how much does age really matter when it comes to making a marriage last? According to a study conducted by researchers from Emory University, for every year gap in age between spouses, the divorce rate increases. For example, spouses with an age gap of 10 years are nearly 40 percent more likely to divorce than spouses who are the same age.

While the results of this study may surprise some, in reality, age really is much more than just a number. Maryland residents can likely think back to when they were growing up and the popular media programs, technologies and world events that helped define their formative years and even shape their futures. An individual’s age provides an important reference point from which he or she derives a surprising amount of influence.

In cases where an age gap between spouses spans 10 or more years, a couple is likely to have different reference points related to everything from beloved childhood television shows to views on societal and political topics. The results of the Emory University appear to indicate that, for a significant percentage of married couples, the differences created by an age gap serve to divide rather than unite.

Source: Emory University – Department of Economics, ” ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration,” Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, Sept. 15, 2015