Healthy Living

Third Year Of Marriage Is The Happiest; Which Year Is The Hardest?

Married couple on their wedding day
Married couples were found to be the happiest during their third year of marriage. Rodomecq, CC BY-SA 3.0

The moment you walk down the aisle and say “I do” could be one of the happiest moments of your life. After exchanging vows and rings and affirming a lifelong commitment, many couples experience a “marriage high” after the wedding. Besides their wedding day, half of married couples were found to be the happiest during their third year of marriage, followed by their first, according to a recent survey.

The poll, conducted by family law specialists Slater & Gordon, the largest team of family lawyers with offices across England and Wales, surveyed 2,000 married adults to examine the fundamentals of modern married life. The survey found that half of respondents experienced the most marital bliss during the third year of their married life. The reasoning behind this finding can be attributed to the belief that couples are still “basking in the newlywed glow” with uninhibited optimism to start a new life together, the Telegraph reports.

During a couple’s first few years of marriage, they enjoy the luxury of having two incomes that give them the ability to do renovations or home repairs for their ideal dream home before kids enter the picture. Once a couple tweaks the house to what they deem is suitable to raise a family, they begin to make plans to actually start a family, which further solidifies the relationship by the third year.

''It's not very often we see clients in those first few years of marriage but by the five year mark or a couple of years after they have children we often have married couples asking us for advice,” Amanda McAlister, a family lawyer at Slater & Gordon, told the Telegraph. In contrast with the third year, the survey found the fifth year to be the hardest to overcome for married couples, due to factors such as tiredness, exhaustion from increased workload, and the addition of children.

As the honeymoon phase begins to dissipate, one in three married adults reports feeling a lack of affection in his or her marriage, and one in five says there are days when he or she regrets the decision to get married completely. Some of the factors that attribute to these feelings include unbalanced sex drives and differing hobbies or social preferences between partners during the first few years, the Daily Mail reports. While one in five admitted that marriage had not worked out as he or she would have liked, four out of ten married adults said they feel like they could do more on their part to make their marriage work.

''People often get so overwhelmed by the first few years they forget that a successful marriage requires work,” said McAlister. This feeling was experienced by one in 10 survey respondents.

“The truth is, marriage is hard work,” said Michelle Weiner Davis, author of numerous books including The Divorce Remedy. “Long-term marriage isn't for sissies. There are times you think about giving up rather than giving in. Not all arguments have happy endings."

McAlister does offer reassurance for those who are going through their fifth-year hardships: ''Often those clients will just be having a hard time and six months later their marriage will have completely turned a corner," she said.

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