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Science, The Mind

Is Love Enough? Science Shows 6 Ways Kate and Wills can have a lasting Royal Marriage!

Are you getting excited about the Royal Wedding yet?

Wills and Kate

The Perfect Couple? Prince William and Kate Middleton will be wed on 26th April 2011 at Westminster Abbey

(Even if you’re not, Brits have an extra day off work to look forward to!)

In a world with frighteningly high divorce rates, and facing a life in the limelight, is there really any hope that the royal marriage can survive a lifetime?

Well here are some tips for them that come from a rather surprising place – a recent edition of Social Science Research! (no, really) It contains a thorough analysis of some of the most comprehensive research ever done on marriage and divorce. Professor Wilcox from the University of Virginia scrutinised all previous research before delving into six years worth of surveys of married couples. He came up with some fascinating answers to those elusive questions, ‘What makes for a happy marriage?‘ and ‘Why do some people divorce?

I fear Kate and Wills have a copy of ‘Social Science Research’ sitting in their magazine rack- so I have summarised for them six top tips on how they can improve their chances of having a long and happy marriage

6 Top Tips for Kate and Wills

Tip 1: Don’t base the marriage on emotions

Kate and Wills will need more than warm fuzzy feelings if they want to grow old together.

Of the thousands of surveyed couples, Prof Wilcox discovered that when marriage was viewed solely as an expression of feelings were – partners were much less likely to stick together in the long run.

Curiously, Wilcox also noticed that very romantic couples were more satisfied with their marriage but had higher divorce rates in the long run.

Kate and Wills better have more in common than physical attraction then…

Tip 2: See marriage as having a deeper meaning

Men and women who thought their marriage as was important in either a religious or cultural way were much more able to weather the storms of life together.

If the royal newly-weds see their union as permanent and having a deep significance they will set off on a good footing.

prayer 2

Personal Faith has a Surprisingly Big impact on the quality of Married Life

Tip 3: Agree on Religious Beliefs

At least outwardly, Kate Middleton and Prince William both profess Anglican beliefs – which may be just as well.

Believing in a religion like Christianity and attending Church has a protective effect on marriage. Partners who share a religious belief tend to have happier and more stable relationships. Conversely, couples who fundamentally differ on their world views find it more difficult to stay together are more likely to split.

I suggest Kate and Wills spend some time chatting over the finer points of their personal beliefs to maximise their chances of having a stable relationship.

Tip 4: Do different things

It might not sound very politically correct, but the research showed that couples who adopted different family-work roles had a higher-quality, more stable relationship. This is called “gender specialisation” and would mean Kate and Wills need to make decisions as to who does the public speaking and who looks after the chihuahuas…

Looking disappointed: I think they had hoped Kate was going to be there...

Tip 5: Get supportive friends

Kate’s friends seem to be somewhat effusive about her in the press. But both Kate and William are going to need more than back-slapping – they will need a network of friends who will support not just them, but their marriage. Having a social network of people who see the institution of marriage of something that is valued results in more successful, longer-lasting unions.

Tip 6: Hang out with other married people

The Prince and Princess may have to forgo some of their friendships with singletons. Spending time with other married couples – especially those who have been wed for a long time – will help them get used to being married.

Psychologically, having role models who demonstrate ‘good marriage values’ helps legitimise the institution of marriage.  This effect will help the newly-weds establish the values of married lifelove, mutual support and faithfulness.

I guess spending too much time with Dad might not be a great thing…

Not a Perfect Couple? It is alleged Prince Charles had numerous affairs whilst married to Princess Diana


Thanks for reading – comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!

Related post: The Science of Love!


The Official Royal Wedding Website

The Official Website of the British Monarchy

Not a royalist? You might be interested in the ‘Not the Royal Wedding’ Street Party!

Read about Prince Charles’ and Diana’s troubled marriage


Wilcox, W., & Dew, J. (2010). Is love a flimsy foundation? Soulmate versus institutional models of marriage☆ Social Science Research, 39 (5), 687-699 DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.05.006

About Stuart Farrimond

I love writing about science and health subjects. Strange, because I also teach the same things. I trained as a medical doctor before turning my hand to other things. Shortlisted for The Guardian/Observer for Science Writer of the Year 2011 and editor for Guru Magazine I also like to grow large pumpkins...


2 thoughts on “Is Love Enough? Science Shows 6 Ways Kate and Wills can have a lasting Royal Marriage!

  1. Being married for 29 years, I can say you need more then romantic attraction to keep a marriage solid. Religion, the kids, and the family is what I would call the backbone to a lasting relationship. Along with loving yourself first. If you don’t who will?

    Posted by John Galt | September 30, 2011, 3:15 am
    • Well, I don’t have your marital experience (four and a half years) but from my life so far, I utterly agree,
      Of course many people are choosing not to get married these days for many different reasons – but I guess that’s a different discussion.
      Thanks for your comment John,

      Posted by Stuart Farrimond | October 8, 2011, 8:35 am

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