Happy newlyweds are more likely to remain happy couples. This seemingly uncontroversial finding was confirmed by a study involving 431 California couples who participated in a series of surveys to assess changes in marital satisfaction over time. Researchers noticed that most studies about marital happiness involved primarily middle-class, white couples and wanted a more diverse take on satisfaction in a relationship. In addition, they also wanted to measure the effect of socioeconomic status, identifying couples living in a lower-income area of Los Angeles County to participate in the study.
Participants received an eight-question survey for the first time as newlyweds in 2009. They were asked questions about their level of satisfaction in the marriage and considerations about divorce, including whether they trusted their spouses and were happy with the time they spent together. Researchers then administered the surveys each year until 2014. Contrary to the idea that everyone becomes unhappy in marriage over time, they found that the same couples identified as having high levels of marital satisfaction as newlyweds were likely to stay that way. This was true across various income levels of the participants.
On the other hand, couples identified early on as having low levels of satisfaction in their relationships were much more likely to suffer even more distrust and unhappiness over the years. While wives were likely to become more unhappy if their economic situation was more difficult, this was primarily true for couples that already had poor relationships and high levels of dissatisfaction.
There are many reasons why people decide to divorce over the years, including gradual changes to how couples relate to one another. A family law attorney can work with a client to reach a fair outcome on the applicable issues, including property division and spousal support.