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Does Marital Satisfaction Decline Naturally Over Time?The reason that a couple decides to divorce is often tied to marital satisfaction – if you are no longer satisfied with your marriage, you are more likely to want to end it. There is less consensus about whether marital satisfaction naturally declines over time or if something needs to create that dissatisfaction. People who believe in a natural decline in marital satisfaction may use terms such as “the honeymoon is over” and “seven-year itch”:

  • After the initial bliss of being married, spouses face adversity for the first time when they settle into their shared life; and
  • There is an idea that people become tired of their relationship with each other after seven years.

A recent study published in the journal “Social Psychology and Personality Science” tried to test whether a decline in marital satisfaction is common. The researchers differentiated their study by including couples of diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, believing that the tendency to study white, middle-class couples may have skewed past results. Researchers followed couples for five years after their marriage, checking in each year to ask questions that helped them measure each couple’s level of marital satisfaction. There were several findings:

  1. Initial Satisfaction Set the Tone: As would be expected, most couples started their marriages with a moderate-to-high level of satisfaction. Sixty percent of the couples had a high level of satisfaction, 30 percent had a medium level, and 10 percent had a low level. In subsequent years, the satisfaction level remained fairly stable for couples who started with high and moderate satisfaction. Only those who started their marriages with low satisfaction showed a deep decline in marital satisfaction.
  2. Women Are More Likely to Become Dissatisfied: The category that had the steepest decline in marital satisfaction was women who started their marriage with low satisfaction. By contrast, men who started their marriage with low satisfaction tended to have an increase in marital satisfaction after three years.
  3. Economic Risk Has a Mixed Effect: The researchers looked at couples who were most likely to struggle with socioeconomic issues to see whether they had a lower rate of marital satisfaction. They found that it had little effect on men, but women were more likely to start a marriage with low satisfaction if they faced economic hardship.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Every couple that gets divorced has its own reason, but all must follow the same divorce process and laws. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., will guide you through all the necessary steps in getting a divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


When the Bad Outweighs the Good in MarriageDivorce is such a consequential decision that couples often hesitate to assure themselves that they are making the right choice. There is a financial cost to a divorce, though a couple’s biggest concern is often how the divorce will affect their children. They may also feel social pressure to not give up on their marriage prematurely. However, a bad marriage is unhealthy for the spouses and their children. So, how will you know when it is the right time to divorce? That is a conclusion you must reach by weighing the positives and negatives of your marriage. Every marriage has its good and bad aspects. There are several signs that the bad in your marriage may be outweighing the good:

  1. Unsafe Environment: One of the primary benefits of staying married is having a stable home for your family. However, frequently fighting with your spouse instead creates an unhealthy environment for everyone. If the fighting becomes physical and verbal abuse, you need to remove your children from that toxic environment.
  2. Loneliness: Living with someone you no longer love can make you feel as isolated as being single. Your marriage lacks the intimacy you need to feel fulfilled. You may be afraid of being alone after your divorce, but you should consider whether you already feel lonely in your marriage. By being single, you at least have a chance of finding love again.
  3. Lack of Happiness: Marriage vows traditionally include the term “for better or worse.” You promise not to give up just because your marriage is going through a rough patch. However, you need to have the good moments to balance out the bad. Suffering in a marriage with no payoff is more masochism than dedication. Your own sadness also has a way of spreading to your children, affecting their moods.
  4. Fear of Change: There are valid reasons to work on a marriage instead of getting a divorce. You may still love your spouse and believe there is a path to a better marriage. You may want to try your hardest to salvage your marriage for the sake of your kids. However, some spouses avoid divorce because they are afraid of the change that comes with it. If complacency is the only thing preventing your divorce, you are better off making the decision now.

Good Divorce

A divorce done right will make you happier and healthier than you were in a bad marriage. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can guide you through an amicable divorce with your spouse. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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