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The Secret to a Happy Marriage? Having a Sibling!

According to a recent study, the more siblings you have, the less likely you are to get divorced! And the more siblings, the better: each additional sibling a person has (up to about seven) reduces the likelihood of divorce by 2 percent. I read this all a little nervously; speaking as an only child with divorced parents, my own odds weren’t looking too hot…

But wait — good news!

“The practical difference between having no siblings and having one or two isn’t that much in terms of divorce,” said Doug Downey, co-author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State University. “But when you compare children from large families to those with only one child, there is a meaningful gap in the probability of divorce.”

Phew!

Apparently, growing up in a big family may foster trust, cooperation, and other skills and values that help in relationships as an adult. Research found that family dynamics change incrementally with the addition of each sibling. More siblings means more experience dealing with others, and it seems to provide additional help in dealing with a marriage relationship as an adult. You develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions. You have to consider your siblings’ points of view (rather than just being taught/guided by your parents), therefore, you learn how to talk through problems, perhaps at an earlier age than those without siblings. Naturally, the more siblings you have, the more opportunities you have to practice those skills.

Maybe that explains why I’m still not the best at, er … negotiating. My husband frequently reminds me I am the adult and not the kid … *shame faced.* I can blame this now squarely on my parents and the fact they didn’t have 6 more kids. Hurrah!

Let’s take a peek at some celebs and their siblings — my, don’t some of them look so alike?? (Hemsworth brothers, I’m looking at you!)

  • Gwyneth Paltrow and her brother Jake 1 of 10
    RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Gwyneth Paltrow out with her brother in New York City

    Gwyneth Paltrow's younger brother is named Jake. Their parents are actress Blythe Danner and the late film producer/director Bruce Paltrow. Gwyneth talks in a recent Red magazine interview about her brother's new baby daughter fondly, and also about how they spend Christmases together.

  • Prince William and his brother Prince Harry 2 of 10
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCE HARRY! Prince Harry will be celebrating his 29th Birthday on 15th September 2013

    Here's Prince William with his brother Prince Harry, who is 2 years younger. The Royal brothers have always been close, William being the protective elder sibling after they lost their mother when Harry was only 12. Harry was Will's best man when he married Kate Middleton in 2011. 

  • Bard Pitt and his brother Doug (and Doug’s family) 3 of 10
    Brad Pitt and his brother Doug Pitt attend the 'World War Z' New York premiere at Times Square

    Brad Pitt is the the oldest kid in his family, with brother Doug and sister Julie younger than him. They all grew up in Springfield, Missouri. Doug is a businessman and philanthropist; he founded the Care to Learn charity that funds emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs for children. Imagine being Brad Pitt's brother (i.e. the brother of the best looking man in the world?).

  • Kate Middleton and sister Pippa 4 of 10
    Kate Middleton wearing a beautiful McQueen dress as she arrives at Westminster Abbey for her wedding to Prince William

    Kate's younger sister Pippa captivated the world's press when she wore a figure hugging dress as bridesmaid at Kate's wedding to Prince William in April 2011. Kate also has a brother, James. The three siblings grew up in Berkshire, England, with Kate and Pippa attending Marlborough College. Kate studied at St. Andrews University, where she met her future husband. 

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal and brother Jake 5 of 10
    Siblings Jake Gyllenhaal and pregnant Maggie Gyllenhaal spend the afternoon together in New York

    Jake is the son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner. Gyllenhaal began acting at the age of ten. Following his first lead role in 1999's October Sky, he starred in the cult hit Donnie Darko in 2001, in which he played a psychologically troubled teenager alongside his older sister, actress Maggie. Both siblings now have successful film careers. Maggie is married to actor Peter Sarsgaard, and they have 2 children. 

  • Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian 6 of 10
    The Kardashian sisters, Kim Kardashian Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian launch their Kardashian Kollection at Dorothy Perkins in London

    TV reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians propelled the 3 sisters to fame when it first aired in 2007. The show is still successful. Kim's fame shot through the roof when she received widespread criticism after filing for divorce from husband Kris Humphries after a 72-day marriage. In 2012, Kim became pregnant by rapper Kayne West and gave birth to their daughter North the following June. Khloé married Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom after a one-month relationship in 2009. In 2012, she served as a co-host of the USA version of The X Factor. Kourtney is the eldest sibling (they also have a younger brother, Rob), and after a spell as an actress, she's now best known for her reality shows. She is married to Scott Disick, and they have 2 children. 

  • Chris and Liam Hemsworth 7 of 10
    Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth attend the red carpet arrivals at the UK premiere of "The Hunger Games"

    Chris Hemsworth is the middle child of 3 siblings — all boys, all actors from Melbourne, Australia. Chris is best known for playing Thor in the Marvel superhero films, and Liam is best known for his role in The Hunger Games — and arguably for dating Miley Cyrus. Older brother Luke is best known for his role in Aussie soap Neighbours. Chris is married to Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, and they have one child, India Rose. 

  • Jessica and Ashlee Simpson 8 of 10
    Newly slimmed down Jessica Simpson and sister Ashlee Simpson sign autographs for their clothing line at Macy's department store

    The Simpson sisters are both successful singers. Jessica, the eldest, is mom to two kids — daughter Maxwell and son Ace. She is engaged to Eric Johnson — it will be her second marriage. Ashlee was married to bassist Pete Wentz, and they had a son Bronx in 2008, but then divorced in 2011. She is currently dating actor Evan Ross. 

  • Rihanna and her brother Rajad Fenty 9 of 10
    Rihanna and younger brother Rajad Fenty seen leaving their London Hotel along with their mum Monica Braithwaite in London

    Barbados-born Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty, and two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born to different mothers from his previous relationships. Her parents split up when she was 14. She later sang in front of Jay Z and L.A. Reid, and that same day signed a six-album deal. The rest, they say, is history...

  • Rose McGowan and her younger sister 10 of 10
    Actress Rose McGowan and sister get some shopping done in Los Angeles

    Rose McGowan, the second-eldest of six children (plus two half-siblings), was born in Italy.  She and her siblings grew up in communes in Europe. The above pic is of Rose and her sister out shopping just before Rose married fiance Davey Detail in Silverlake, California last month.  

Photo credits: Pacific Coast News

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