Staying in an unhappy marriage ‘is for the best’

family law

People who stick with their spouse through unhappy times are better off in the long run, the Marriage Foundation claims.

In new research, the campaign group insisted that “unhappiness in a marriage is often just a short-term and fixable problem”.

Although the Foundation admitted that some parents are unhappy with their marriage following the birth of their first child, they claimed that the majority of those couples  – seven out of every ten – stayed together and 68 per cent of them were happy ten years later. In fact, 27 per cent of those who were unsatisfied when they became parents had become “extremely happy” within a decade.

These figures were based on an analysis of 15,207 parents whose children were born in 2000 or 2001. This data was gathered as part of the Millennium Cohort Study conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, an economic research organisation based at the University of London.

Marriage Foundation research director Harry Benson said that despite popular belief “staying in an unhappy marriage could be the best thing you ever do”. Most married couples experience moments of stress or strain at some point but “apart from the fortunately extremely rare cases where the relationship involves abuse, most couples can work through the difficulties to be happy later on” he claimed.

Former High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge founded the Marriage Foundation in 2012. He said one of the biggest problems facing marriage was people’s misconceptions about what goes into a relationship. He explained:

“They do not just happen. Just because each party is passionate about the other at the start does not automatically mean they will remain for ever at that high octane level without effort and without periods of unhappiness.”

In 2015, a YouGov poll found that as many as 61 per cent of Britons have stayed in an unhappy relationship for much longer than they think they should have. Only six per cent of the more than 2,000 people surveyed claimed they had broken up with their partner soon after realising they were not a good match.

Read the Marriage Foundation research here.

Photo by Nicu Buculei via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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4 comments

keith - February 8, 2017 at 7:25pm

Sounds like more Know it all researchers trying to tell people whats best for them instead of letting grown adults make their own mind up.
nothing but useless information and busybodies spouting nonsense.

G - February 19, 2017 at 7:23pm

Should you stay with a person who can’t earn his own money for physical problems but can’t draw disability either, so you take care of him completely, but he does drugs and drinks daily. Has even resorted to stealing. I hate it. I don’t do drugs or drink and it’s very hard for me to have a proper relationship with him. Today we’ve been married for 4 years, but have been together for 16 years

JamesB - February 20, 2017 at 12:02pm

Statistics. 70% happy after a year and 68% of them happy ten years later.

Another way of saying that, the majority of married people who have children are unhappy ten years later.

That’s the way I read that and is frankly worrying me as I am married with children and the article needs tidying up. 68% of 70% is 48% happy, 52% unhappy. Now where have I heard that split before.

JamesB - February 20, 2017 at 12:04pm

Or, did this mean 68% of all those married people who have had a child are still together and happy 10 years later? I am not sure and is hurting my head. Please advise.

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