People who stick with their spouse through unhappy times are better off in the long run, the Marriage Foundation claims.
In new research, the campaign group insisted that “unhappiness in a marriage is often just a short-term and fixable problem”.
Although the Foundation admitted that some parents are unhappy with their marriage following the birth of their first child, they claimed that the majority of those couples – seven out of every ten – stayed together and 68 per cent of them were happy ten years later. In fact, 27 per cent of those who were unsatisfied when they became parents had become “extremely happy” within a decade.
These figures were based on an analysis of 15,207 parents whose children were born in 2000 or 2001. This data was gathered as part of the Millennium Cohort Study conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, an economic research organisation based at the University of London.
Marriage Foundation research director Harry Benson said that despite popular belief “staying in an unhappy marriage could be the best thing you ever do”. Most married couples experience moments of stress or strain at some point but “apart from the fortunately extremely rare cases where the relationship involves abuse, most couples can work through the difficulties to be happy later on” he claimed.
Former High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge founded the Marriage Foundation in 2012. He said one of the biggest problems facing marriage was people’s misconceptions about what goes into a relationship. He explained:
“They do not just happen. Just because each party is passionate about the other at the start does not automatically mean they will remain for ever at that high octane level without effort and without periods of unhappiness.”
In 2015, a YouGov poll found that as many as 61 per cent of Britons have stayed in an unhappy relationship for much longer than they think they should have. Only six per cent of the more than 2,000 people surveyed claimed they had broken up with their partner soon after realising they were not a good match.
Read the Marriage Foundation research here.