Marriage Gets Easier Over Time, According to New Reports

December 5, 2018  |  

Key Strategies to Aging Well into Retirement & Beyond

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Most people associate the early moments in a relationship as the best–crowning the time period, “the honeymoon stage.” But perhaps the best is yet to come.

A new study tracked couples who had been married 15 and 35 years, and found that relationship quality improved over time, for those involved in the study. The report, published in The Journal Of Emotion, saw a rise in positive behaviors between couples over time.

One of the authors of the study, Robert Levenson, a psych professor at UC Berkeley said of the report, ‘Our findings shed light on one of the great paradoxes of late life.

‘Despite experiencing the loss of friends and family, older people in stable marriages are relatively happy and experience low rates of depression and anxiety. Marriage has been good for their mental health.’

So much for the doom and gloom tale of boredom and low sex drives on the other side of a relationship. Even though marriage narratives are changing, and more people are staying single for longer and getting divorced, marriage still remains beneficial for everyone.

Alice Verstaen, a pHD student who helped execute the study, explained, ‘Given the links between positive emotion and health, these findings underscore the importance of intimate relationships as people age, and the potential health benefits associated with marriage. These results provide behavioral evidence that is consistent with research suggesting that, as we age, we become more focused on the positives in our lives.’

Sounds like the “honeymoon stage” needs to be replaced by the “golden years stage.” It makes sense that relationship happiness would increase as comfort with your significant other grows. One of the negative interactions that increased over time was defensiveness. Two people who really know each other tend to trust each other’s intentions and give the other the benefit of the doubt. Letting your guard down completely towards the end of your life, sounds like an ideal setup for old age.

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