Research Finds that Marriage Improves Over Time

27 April 2018 Written by Family Law Caithness Category: News

Married couples are often portrayed as experiencing a decline in happiness in their relationship the longer they are married, but new research has proved this to be incorrect. 

The research, conducted in the US and reported by British pro-marriage think-tank the Marriage Foundation, found that in fact the majority of marriages only get better over time.

The paper shows that it is true that in marriages that end in divorce, the quality of the relationship unsurprisingly deteriorates over time, but for those that don’t, the frequency of arguments and bickering actually drops, while happiness levels stay high.

Researchers looked at three key relationship factors: happiness, the level of discord and how often couples did activities together, such as eat together, visit friends or go shopping.

For married couples who stay together – that is to say the majority of all couples that marry – happiness starts high and remains high. The number of shared activities decline over the first twenty years of marriage but pick up again after that and discord, characterised primarily by arguments, continues to fall year on year.

“All of us have seen couples sitting in stony silence in restaurants, resigned to what looks like a dry and lifeless marriage,” commented Harry Benson, research director of the think tank Marriage Foundation. “It’s a depressing and misleading stereotype that sitcoms like to portray. And until now researchers have generally agreed that marriages start well but thereafter drift into terminal decline.”

“Only it’s a complete myth,” he added. “By separating the marriages that last from those that don’t, this new study better reflects the reality that – so long as couples stay together – marriages tend to get better with time.”

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