By Robert L. Mues   |   December 6th, 2014

Do Divorce Rates Increase When People Spend More Money On An Engagement Ring? Study Says Yes!

divorce engagement ringTraditionally, A princess cut, a pear, a round, or an oval?  Should I go to Jared (He went to Jared) or Stafford or Kay, because every kiss begins with Kay, right? How much should I spend?  Can I afford a good engagement ring now or should I wait and save 3 months’ salary?  Am I going to look cheap if I go to an off brand jeweler or use a family heirloom ring?

These are all questions that many men face when deciding when and where to purchase an engagement ring.  It seems like just buying the engagement ring for the “right” reasons alone may no longer suffice. Today, you must get the right ring from the right jeweler, and that ring is normally quite pricey.  The average American couple forked out nearly $4,000 on average for an engagement ring, that doesn’t even include the wedding bands!  (Which average another $1,500!)

The commercialization of love, weddings, and romance has been growing and growing ever since businessmen realized how much people will actually pay to ensure their lasting love. The average price tag in the United States for a complete wedding costs around $28,000.  Given this hefty cost, it seems like you’d only want to do this once right? But surprisingly, the answer seems to be a resounding NO.

Some interesting things over the past 65 years have changed the way jewelry and weddings are commercialized.  Obviously, the evolution of television and technology has amplified the commercialism, but companies have enforced the idea that with money comes love.  Did you know that before WWII, only 10% of wedding rings contained a diamond!  Now a days, it seems like there is incredible pressure to get the princess cut, or find that African Bing Diamond with the perfect rating.

Interestingly, a recent paper published by Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon discussed the theory that people who spend more money on an engagement ring, tend to be more likely to divorce or separate later in life.  The results they found tend to support that theory.

This test looked into the average size and money spent on engagement rings and averaged out the divorce rates of those spending a lot of money, and those just getting a ring to get a ring.  This conclusion almost seems as if it’s obvious; as we see all the time, individuals who make a significant amount of money (i.e. actors/actresses and professional athletes) often get divorced several times.   I mean c’mon, Larry King has been married 8 times now!!

There are even websites that offer tips about what to do with your wedding rings after you divorce.  There are several suggestions that range from the obvious to the obscure.  These include transforming them into toe rings or simply selling them.

Does A Smaller Engagement Ring Mean Avoiding Divorce?

In concluding this article, we can state as a matter of fact that our society has moved from spending very little on the ring as a symbol of marriage (when we had lower divorce rates) to now, when couples often spend enough to buy a car for a ring and our divorce rates keep escalating.  Just a coincidence?   Maybe. So the next time you’re considering buying an engagement ring, think about how much your fiancée will react to an expensive or a modest ring.  So, as they say, “size does matter.” In this instance, perhaps smaller may actually be better! Something to mull over…

We have previously written several blog articles about engagement rings in the past.  Click here to read the one about “Who Gets to Keep the Engagement Ring.” Here is another blog post also dealing in part with the same divorce issue titled, “Engagement Ring Blues.”

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

Divorce: Larger the Engagement Ring, the Higher the Divorce Rate?
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