Sydney Morning Herald 3 Dec 2012
The honeymoon period is a myth, according to new research which has found that couples are unhappiest in their first year of marriage. And forget bickering like an old married couple. The study found that the happiest husbands and wives are those who have notched up more than 40 years of wedded bliss. The research, by Deakin University’s Australian Centre on Quality of Life, measured the happiness of 2000 people on a scale of 0-100. The average score for the Australian population was 75 but couples in their first year of marriage scored a rating of 73.9 compared with people who have been married for four-plus decades at 79.8. The lead author, Dr Melissa Weinberg, was surprised by the findings. ”It’s a little unexpected because the perception is that newlywed couples should be the happiest but in reality that’s not the case,” she said.
…The research, carried out for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, found that couples bounce back from post-nuptial depression, with their happiness score increasing to 78.4 in the second year of marriage. Those who can stay the distance are the happiest of all, with Mr Aiken noting that couples learn how to manage conflict. The research, to be released on Monday, found that married people were generally happier than singles, de factos, divorcees or people who were widowed or separated. Those who had been through a separation were the unhappiest with a score of 69.2. Married women were happier than men, with wedded bliss peaking at between three and five years for women and again at the 40-year mark.