Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Study examines roots of marital dissatisfaction

For many people in Virginia, it is common knowledge that people's happiness in marriage declines over the years with the end of the "honeymoon period." While relationships do change over years of togetherness, one study casts doubt on the idea that rising marital dissatisfaction is a necessary part of spending years together. Researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Georgia aimed to study how feelings about marriage change over time. They were also interested in exploring the impact of socioeconomic factors, given the intense financial disputes that can take place during a divorce.

The researchers studied 431 couples living in a lower-income area, although the couples' financial circumstances varied. They were asked an eight-question survey on five occasions between 2009 and 2014, beginning in 2009 when all of the couples were newlyweds. The researchers found out that the common perception of marital satisfaction is questionable in many cases. Couples who began their married lives with a high level of happiness and satisfaction were more likely to maintain it. On the other hand, people who were unhappy in their marriages at the beginning were likely to remain unhappy and to think about divorce.

Economic factors also had less of an impact than the researchers may have expected. While wives in particularly low-income couples were more likely to be dissatisfied, this was also correlated with low levels of marital satisfaction from newlywed days. However, the study did not examine the effects of sudden financial changes on marital stability and satisfaction.

While lower incomes may not be a cause of marital dissatisfaction, conflicts over money can be a short road to divorce. When couples do decide to split, a family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to seek a fair settlement on a range of issues, including property division and spousal support.

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