A study that tracked that marital satisfaction of 431 California couples over five years reveals that socioeconomic factors do not greatly influence matrimonial happiness. Researchers from two universities chose couples from economically challenged neighborhoods in Los Angeles for their study because previous research in this area has generally been conducted using relatively affluent white couples. The results of the study suggest that long-term marital satisfaction is more influenced by initial levels of happiness than financial hardships.
The researchers contacted the couples five times between 2009 and 2014 to ask them a series of questions. The couples were categorized based on their initial levels of marital satisfaction. They found that couples who had high levels of happiness when they walked down the aisle tended to stay happy while spouses who began married life dissatisfied became more so as time went on. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Social and Personality Science Psychology on Aug. 29.
The researchers noticed a sharp difference in long-term marital satisfaction between husbands and wives who were dissatisfied when they married. The steepest falls in marital satisfaction were observed among the wives in this group, but the husbands rebounded after about three to five years and became more satisfied with married life.
When couples who were not particularly happy when they got married choose to divorce, their property division and spousal support discussions often become hostile and contentious. If traditional negotiations seem unlikely to lead to an amicable settlement, family law attorneys may suggest exploring other options to avoid lengthy court battles, such as mediation.