Study Finds Staying In An Unhappy Marriage Could Be Good For Your Relationship


by Elizabeth Bennett |
Published on

If your marriage is going through a tricky patch you’re better off sticking it out, new research suggests.

A study from the Marriage Foundation has found that couples who stayed together through difficult periods ended up happier.

In particular, researchers found that the majority of couples who went through an unhappy stage after the birth of their first child, felt fulfilled a decade later. Analysing data from 10,000 parents with newborn children, they found that 70% stayed together despite feeling unhappy. However, ten years later, 68% of these couples felt happy.

Contrary to popular belief, it seems you might be better of grinning and bearing it through to bad times.

Harry Benson, from the Marriage Foundation highlighted that “staying in an unhappy marriage could be the best thing you ever do.”

“Most marriages have their unhappy moments, 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,” Benson explained.

Sir Paul Coleridge, a former High Court Judge and the founder of Marriage Foundation called the new study “really important, myth-busting research” considering the current increasing rates of divorce and family breakdown in the UK. Currently 34% of marriages end in divorce before their 20th anniversary.

The key to making a marriage go the long-haul? Benson reckons it is all about spending precious time together.

"A simple change a couple can make is to go on regular – but not routine – date nights. Previous research by Marriage Foundation showed that married couples who go on date nights every month have 14 per cent lower odds of their relationship breaking down than those who did not."

If that’s not an excuse to book a fancy dinner in, we don’t know what is.

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