Forget the seven-year itch – it turns out that marriages are happier as the years go by.

There’s long been a belief that the longer you’ve been married, the higher your chances of something going wrong. You lose patience with each other, you want different things, you realise that you’ve become different people…the list goes on. However a recent study by scientists in the US proved otherwise, suggesting that couples who have been married for a longer period of time have more humour and understanding in their relationship The Daily Mail reports.

Getting Better With Age

The study found that the fighting typical of the early years of marriage, often as a result of children and financial strain, subsides as time goes by. As a couple age, they tend to see the humour in situations that may have caused petty arguments previously, challenging the stereotype of older married couples being set in their ways and simply coexisting. Tracking couples who had been married for between 15 and 35 years for a period of 13 years, the study found that positive behaviours such as affection and humour increased, while negative traits, such as defensiveness, decreased the longer a marriage continued.

Marriage Is Good For Mental Health

Study author Robert Levenson said, “Our findings shed light on one of the great paradoxes of late life. Despite experiencing the loss of friends and family, older people in stable marriages are relatively happy and experience low rates of depression and anxiety. Marriage has been good for their mental health.”

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While the study only tracked heterosexual couples from the San Francisco Bay Area, who are now in their 70s and 80s, researchers are sure the findings would apply to most married couples.

These results provide behavioural evidence that is consistent with research suggesting that, as we age, we become more focused on the positives in our lives.”

Do you think marriages get better over time? Tell us in the comments below. 

  • I don’t think it’s definitive that if you stay together for a long time you will ultimately end up happier. Yeah, that could happen with some. With others, it could end up worse as time goes on. It very much depends on the people involved


  • So long as the two parties involved are willing and want to be in a partnership then I am sure it works no matter what age. However if one is entering into the arrangement with other than a sincere wish for it to work, then nothing, no matter how many compromises, will make it work.
    Am now on a long term relationship [3] and couldn’t be happier. 1 – husband died unexpectedly on his way to see his son, 2 was a manipulative marriage and despite my best efforts it was meant to fail. 3 couldn’t be happier after 36 years. So this author’s work is still dependent upon the people he is assessing to get his results.


  • With respect i don’t think so. It must only be San Francisco Bay area.


  • I do think that they can get better over time with respect and acceptance as the two key things for me


  • I think you know your boundaries so it’s easier but a little more unpredictable and boring


  • The beginning and first few years require so much patience, compromise and understanding but it really does get better provided you’ve married a decent person and your willing to compromise on your end as well. I know so many marriages that have either broken down or headed for divorce over simple things that could have easily been prevented! I think we get imparient and hot headed a little at the begining but then it gets better. Marriage unfortunately didn’t begin so well (due to the involvement of in laws!!! never thought I’d end up there but I did! typical situation) but with patience and compromise it got better and boy did it get better! hopefully as more years go by, it gets better and better and better!

    • Agree with the first part of your comment – you have to be compatible in the first place and then the marriage will work. Marriage wearing rose coloured glasses doesn’t last – and if there is little love in the beginning it also won’t work. First marriage broke down [19 years later] because there wasn’t any love in the beginning – he was pining for another woman and his siblings needed desperately to marry but family/cultural tradition said the first born must be married before the later children. Later he told me that he felt I was the most deserving person for him to marry, and his two brothers married two and four weeks after us to allow for the banns to be called as they were all strict Catholics. I guess our marriage was destined to fail. Current partner and I have now been together 36 years and have never had a cross word and couldn’t be happier. So pleased I am no longer a deserving person to marry!!!!


  • I think many do, yes.


  • I think if you’re with the right person it gets easier, the first years are trying especially with young children and lack of sleep! Your combing 2 different people and changing their lifestyles completely it takes some getting use to.


  • Yes I do. Our 43rd anniversary was last week but unfortunately I lost my husband last year to cancer. Even so I will be celebrating our anniversary and his birthday every year.


  • Yes. You will need patient and better understanding.


  • As long as you respect eachother and stay faithful theres no reason it can’t be a long happy marriage. Obviously the initial ‘buzz’ wears off but like any relationship you both must work at it.


  • My parents were married at a young age my mum was 21 and my dad was 18 and still together after 62 years of marriage


  • Yes. I think you need to work at it and stick at it. I’ve been married now for 30 years and am happier now than I’ve ever been.


  • I don’t think this is true, alot of people get divorced after quite a few years married


  • I think it can definitely go that way


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