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.”

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 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!


  • 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


  • I’m divorced so I can’t think so for me!


  • I don’t know if this is true or not as many people do still break up down the track. I think it all depends on the individuals and their communication/commitment to each-other not how long they have been married but some of the points do make sense about things changing over time.


  • I dont know if time matters or not because I know few couples who split after 10 and 14 years of marriage.


  • I don’t think time really matters – I’ve known couples who have split after less than 12 months, but I have also known those that have lasted many years (ours included, 32 years and counting!!)


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