The Goldilocks Principle : do deviations from the average courtship predict divorce?
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The benefits of being average were examined within the context of romantic relationships by focusing on courtship progression and events for 164 married couples. The courtship progression was captured using a graph of the fluctuations in the percentage chance of marriage for each spouse from when couples first began dating up until the wedding day. Five factors were then used to capture the graph: Time elapsed to progress from 25 to 75% chance of marriage, turbulence in chance of marriage values, average change in percent chance of marriage between relationship events, courtship length, and the sum of squared deviations from a straight line connecting when couples first started dating until their marriage date. Couples also reported on the timing of important relationship events (i.e., meeting parents, first fell in love, first sexual intercourse, and engagement) that were then compared to the order of the average courtship event progression. Deviations from the average courtship in terms of either graphical or event indicators did not significantly predict whether or not couples divorced in the first 13 years of marriage.