Marriage is no doubt the longest, albeit most prosperous journey of any person’s life. As they say, a marriage can either make or break you. This can be true depending on the context of your relationship. Are you in a marriage that is fruitful or abusive?
For most people, they believe that the happiest time in their marriage is the honeymoon phase; you know, just after the wedding day where the two of you can’t seem to get enough of each other!
Science thinks otherwise
Turns out science has a different outlook on this. According to a March 2018 study printed by Social Networks and the Life course, the happiest time of a marriage that any couple can experience is after they have hit their 20th anniversary.
Yep, you heard right.
As a matter of fact, the study in question analyzed over 2000 marriages deemed to be successful, with their average length of duration being 35 years. During the analysis, the research team discovered that couples who had surpassed the 20-year threshold actually spent more time partaking in activities as compared to couples in the honeymoon phase.
What’s more interesting is that the researchers noted that happiness levels of couples continued to decrease right up to the 20-year mark, then they suddenly began to rise again.
Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for this gradual decrease in happiness levels is the sudden financial constraints that come with starting a family. Initially during the courtship stage, each partner had a sense of independence with how they ran their daily affairs.
Now that they have partnered up and are looking forward to extend their family, this inadvertently brings about a myriad of financial problems that need to be addressed. For example, paying off the mortgage for the new house, feeding and clothing the family; and let’s not forget the introduction of extended family members who look to you for financial reprieve.
Emotional and psychological strains
Additionally, the sudden pile-up of responsibilities can bring about emotional stress. Not only do the financial burdens wear out the partners, but are a catalyst for fights and bitter arguments. In some extreme cases, the emotional stress leads a to deep regret about the marriage. So it’s no wonder the divorce rate has risen exponentially in Africa since the 1970s!
So why do the trends decrease after the 20-year mark?
One of the most practical reasons for this is that the couple in question is now financially stable. Over the course of 20 years, they would have most likely completed their kids’ college education. Furthermore, chances are high that they have paid off their mortgage and are currently reaping the benefits of their pension/ retirement funds.
This leaves them with ample time to rekindle their love by going on romantic getaways halfway across the globe, investing in a dream business together, or simply just enjoying each other’s company.
Additionally, the absence of a stressful work environment in their lives means that they are less likely to flare up at home because they have no more stress triggers.
Which begs the question; is the biggest issue behind every failed marriage actually tied to a financial constraint? It certainly seems that way, though you’ll have to be the judge of that.