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Marital happiness deteriorates immediately

Women’s happiness in a marriage begins to wane almost immediately and does not recover, a new study claims.

Unresolved conflict and tension begins shortly after the honeymoon and can often take ten years to reach a boiling point, researchers found. It is at this stage where women become disillusioned as they attempt to strike a satisfactory balance between work, household chores and taking care of children.

Dr Spencer James, from Brigham Young University in Utah, collected data from over 2,000 women who were born between 1957 and 1964.

During the first decade of marriage, conflict can build “perhaps due to unresolved, and potentially unresolvable, issues”, Dr James said.

He added that these issues will come up frequently and build for about a decade before they are “fully discharged”.

The study, published in the Social Science Research Journal, found that 66 per cent of marriages started with very high levels of happiness and positivity which began to deteriorate quickly.

A third of marriages improved after 30 years according to the research. However none were able to achieve the same level of happiness experienced at the start.

There have been several studies into marital happiness this year. In August, one claimed that formal weddings were key to a happier marriage. In September, by contrast, research from Rutgers University in New Jersey suggested that a wife’s happiness was more important to the success of a marriage than her husband’s.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Luke says:

    I can honestly say that I don’t have a single married friend or work married colleague that I know well where both parties are really happy – and the women tend to be more vocal about it – but even so sometimes the other party is oblivious.
    I have some close relatives who are about to celebrate their Diamond (yes Diamond !) wedding anniversary – surely they have to be happy ? Not really, the woman would have been gone years ago if circumstances had allowed (children, money) – and as a guy, who wants to live with someone who is perpetually dissatisfied ?

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