the study of marriage

Thursday, January 12, 2006

How to improve your marriage in one easy, totally free step!

Stay married.

That's it. That's the one easy, totally free step: Stay married, and your marriage will become happier.

According to a study done at the University of Chicago, family researchers found that "two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later." Furthermore, they found that the most unhappily married folks had the best chance for marriage improvement in that five-year period. "The most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds: among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of 10 who avoided divorce were happily married five years later." (Emphases added.)

What about the people involved in the study who got divorced? "The study found that on average unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married when rated on any of 12 separate measures of psychological well-being. Divorce did not typically reduce symptoms of depression, raise self-esteem, or increase a sense of mastery....Even unhappy spouses who had divorced and remarried were no happier on average than those who stayed married." (Emphasis added again.)

The researchers also conducted focus group interviews in order to look into why unhappy marriages improved. "Spouses' stories of how their marriages got happier fell into three broad headings: the marital endurance ethic, the marital work ethic, and the personal happiness ethic." Basically these ethics come down to: 1. Outlast it; 2. Work on improving it; and 3. Work to become happy in spite of a not-great marriage.

So there you have it, a simple, easy, completely free-of-charge method for improving your marriage. Personally, I've found that this method does work. Are you willing to give it a shot?


  • At January 12, 2006 8:24 PM, Blogger mikeit said…

    From experience, I agree with this advice. Things were pretty bad for us several years ago, but we've both been committed to making it better - and it's worked.


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