Love in the USA: Here are the states where people stay married longest

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — On Valentine’s Day, love is definitely in the air — but it might be a little more potent in certain states. Although couples would like for their love to last forever, a new study finds where you live may have a lot to say about that.

The analysis, conducted by Point2Homes, reveals there’s nowhere else in the U.S. that “until death do us part” means more than in West Virginia and Maine! Couples in these two states stayed married longer than anywhere else in the United States — averaging 22.3 years of wedded bliss.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to settle down with one person and only one person forever, the study finds New Jersey, North Dakota, and Utah have the lowest divorce rates in the nation. Conversely, Nevada and Arkansas lead the way when it comes to number of couples calling it quits.


Moving off the mainland

Perhaps the secret to staying in love is finding a faraway place to move to — and possibly avoid the in-laws. The study finds a higher percentage of married couples move to Hawaii (57%) than any other place in the 50 states. The Paradise of the Pacific also finished as the number one state in terms of “everlasting love” after researchers measured 18 scores including well-being, the share of married and divorced people, the opportunities for couples to dine out, and the overall appeal of each state.

As for other places Americans are taking their husband or wife to, Florida finished second, followed by Nevada, New Jersey, and Washington.

Say ‘I do’ in South Dakota?

If life on the East coast isn’t your thing or Hawaii is too expensive of a move, tying the knot in the middle of the country might not be a bad idea. The study of long-lasting love and marriage found that South Dakota actually has the highest “marriage score” of any state in the country.

More than half the state is married, with just one in nine people being divorced or separated. Moreover, marriages here last an average of 21.5 years. Rounding out the top five are Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Although these may be the best states to keep a marriage healthy over the long haul, the study also reveals that many people still opt for the destination wedding when they actually say their vows. Unsurprisingly, no state hosts more weddings than Nevada, where the Las Vegas chapels see 23 weddings for every 1,000 people. The next closest is Hawaii, with just eight weddings for every 1,000 people on the island.

marriage survey

What’s the secret to marriage success?

So why do some couples last longer than others? Is there a secret to a happy marriage? Experts say that people who are truly dedicated to spending their lives with their partner no matter the challenge are more likely to do so.

“People in long-lasting relationships tend to want to be in long-lasting relationships. It takes a certain mindset to invest in something you hope to have endure, and to be able to look beyond ‘the small stuff’ for the sake of longevity. It means to stop looking around for potential ‘upgrades’ and look for the best in your partner and be satisfied with that,” says Scott S. Hall, a professor of family studies at Ball State University, in a statement.

Adds Theresa DiDonato, a professor of psychology at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland: “Long-lasting relationships tend to be characterized by a high degree of commitment. Partners are future-oriented and plan to be together. Often, this reflects a happy relationship defined by healthy habits of showing care, attention, and concern for each other, efforts to support each other’s goals and day-to-day needs, mutual attraction, and genuine enjoyment of each other’s company.”

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