According to a new study, couples who stay married 20 years report feeling happier than newlyweds. Researchers found happiness gradually declines during the first 20 years of marriage, but then it stabilizes and bounces back, giving couples deeper levels of appreciation for each other. This kind of shows that marriage is a marathon, and not a sprint.
The researchers, from Pennsylvania State and Brigham Young Universities, also found that these long-term couples benefited from spending more time together in shared activities than those who might be relishing in their honeymoon period.
Paul Amato and Spencer James examined six waves of data from the Marital Instability Over the Life Course study, which includes information on 2,034 married people, and identified how marital satisfaction rose and declined on average throughout the course of their marriage.
The average age of women included in the study was 35 while for men it was 37.
They found that marital satisfaction gradually declined during the first 20 years of marriage but then started to stabilize again after this period. The same trend of decline and increase was true for participation in shared activities.