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Author Topic: Marriage Does Not Change Outlook on Life: Study  (Read 7412 times) Average Rating: 0
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sinjinsmythe
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« on: March 17, 2003, 10:57:51 PM »

Marriage Does Not Change Outlook on Life: Study
Mon Mar 17,11:42 AM ET  

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most newlyweds experience a brief emotional bounce after their wedding, but they eventually return to the same outlook they had on life before they tied the knot, according to a study released on Sunday.

"We found that people were no more satisfied after marriage than they were prior to marriage," the researchers said.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (news - web sites), a publication of the American Psychological Association.

Researchers tracked more than 24,000 people from 1984 to 1995, asking participants every year to rate their overall life satisfaction from zero (totally unhappy) to 10 (totally happy).

The average boost from marriage was small--one-tenth of one point on the scale, researchers said.

The study, which took 15 years to complete, also found that people who were already satisfied with their lives before marriage tended to stay married longer.

"People who get married and stay married are more satisfied than average long before the marriage has occurred," the study said.

Researchers said the results were based on an average and that happiness is an individual experience, reflecting "the fact that marriage can be very pleasant and rewarding but has the potential to be very stressful."

Dorian Solot, co-founder of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, said the study showed marriage was not a cure-all.

"I think it reminds us that there's no magic ticket to happiness. Wedding bells might do it for some people, but true happiness is about you and your own life, not your marital status," said Solot, who also co-wrote "Unmarried to Each Other."

While long-term marriages tend to be happy, a constant search for that initial euphoria could be disastrous, said David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project, a Rutgers University-based think tank on marriage trends.

"It may be one reason for divorce is they are looking to maintain that high level of happiness throughout the marriage, which is kind of impossible for most people," he said.

The study also found that widows and widowers were less likely to regain the same level of happiness they had during their married years, especially if their marriages were satisfying. Most people who lost a spouse but did not remarry took about eight years to recover emotionally.


I just love studies like these. I wonder what things the Alternatives to Marriage Project has for issues.  It is funny, because this survey did not take into account people's religious views and how they affect marriage.  Marriage after all is a thing from God so it is funny that they did not address any spiritual aspects.
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2003, 12:06:47 AM »

I'm not surprised by the study since marriage is seen as a cure-all and not a path to holiness (just as effective as monasticism, according to St. John Chrysostom) in the most people's eyes. It's a reminder to us to remember to "seek first the kingdom of Heaven" and remember that happiness is from above. But a break-down of the types of marriages (Christian v. Non-Christian) would be nice for our own informational purposes. And yeah, I'd like to know what the "alternatives to marriage" are.

Matt
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sinjinsmythe
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2003, 01:24:14 AM »

I agree with you that many see marriage as a cure-all to happiness.  But that is the case with many other things. People think that if they get rich or get a great job that then they will be happy.  People forget that happiness and joy can only truly come from God. My fear is about this survey is that it will be used as an argument  for cohabitation and other 'marriage alternatives' and against marriage.
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2003, 11:14:19 PM »

Dr. Samuel ("Squinting Sam") Johnson explained the headline more than 200 years ago in one of his many brilliant essays; it is good for the word to get out, though.  From my reading of European literature I formed the impression that marriage was a pretty low stakes game--euphoria was evidently reserved for one's mistress--and who knows if a much sounder and more deeply satisfying life might not develop in such a mundane appraisal of marriage.  In our day and age, marriage is prey to the relentless search for emotional gratification; Solzhenitsyn depicts such a hapless case of psycho-vampirism marvellously in _November 1916_. If, as Elder Porphyrios said, God did not destroy the fallen angels because he respected their liberty, what right have we to be such despots with our spouses?  However, St. John C. has many exciting things to say about marriage; where does he put monasticism and marriage on a par?  Cheers, Daniel
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2003, 01:20:43 PM »

Sorry, I may have mistated that. Obviously the monastic life is the ultimate, but for those who are weaker, marriage can produce the same result. I read this out of "On Marriage and Family Life," homilies from St. John Chrysostom, St. Vladimir's Press. He was commenting on St. Paul's letter to Timothy, I believe. I don't have the book with me right now, but if you would like, I could go look it up in the next couple of days and get back to you. Good comments!

Cheers,

Matt
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sinjinsmythe
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2003, 01:13:50 AM »

I am surprised at the lack of discussion on this topic given that this site has quite a few married people on it. Maybe marriage is not that great after all.  It is better than being single. Angry
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2003, 11:41:05 PM »

Dear Sinjinsmythe,

Marriage can be better then being single in many ways (like having someone who doesn't mind scratching that place you can't reach  Jest alert! Grin )  But if one is not happy with oneself single, marrying isn't a cure for that.  
You can be lonely married or not lonely by yourself.  

The bride/groom isn't there solely for the solace, comfort and help of the spouse.  They are people in their own right with desires, needs, and wants.  It is ideally a state of mutual giving and support.  It is the commitment to the Other rather then the Self and keeping the promises even when it's not fun.  

I need to find the passage in Lewis where he writes of "Being in Love" isn't the same as Loving in the daily life.  The thrill of the courtship (I suppose that makes me sound old fashioned) the "charge" of being near the Beloved doesn't remain the same forever, and it would be exhausting if one tried to make it so.

The little "bump" of satisfaction after the wedding doesn't surprise me.  The deed is done, there's celebration and approval (one hopes).  But anyone who holds to the wedding day being "the happiest dayof their life" doesn't show much thought for the marriage itself. You come down off the cloud to discovery little things about the other that aren't so romantic or even annoying.  The people have to adjust to making room for each other.

Sure marriage can be stressful... so can being single. It's part of being human.  Add children to the mix and there will be stress along with the joy.  They get sick, there are long nights awake, there's crayon on the walls and windows or fights or any number of things.

I was single until I was 33. I prayed sometime in my mid 20's that if I was meant to marry that was fine, please let it be someone was Christian if so, and then got on with work and hobbies and Life. I met the person I eventually married at 29.  We started out just as friends with common interests. Thing grew, there were bumps and difficulties, fun and pleasentries and eventually a wedding.  It's been almost 13 years and 3 children.  There's stress, but the promises we made are for keeps and before the marriage we talked over many things so that there were fewer unpleasant surprises.

Maybe some of us married people haven't posted on this much because we're tired. My theory is that children get their energy from us like draining a battery. Grin

Ebor
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sinjinsmythe
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2003, 12:44:13 AM »

I am reading Mere Christianity right now by Lewis. Do you know where that passage is by any chance?
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2003, 10:58:24 AM »

That passage is in Lewis's short work, The Four Loves.
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2003, 01:56:51 PM »

Thank you, Frobisher.  Smiley

I was about to post that I thought it was either in "The Four Loves" or possibly as part of "Screwtape" and you beat me to it.  I'm going to check my copies for where exactly.  "A Grief Observed" is also an excellent book about loving someone and losing them to death.  But more intense and not what Sinjin might want right now.

Ebor
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2003, 06:07:09 PM »

No prob, Ebor. You really can't go wrong with Lewis, though; he's very uplifting.

Matt

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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 10:39:28 AM »

Marriage Does Not Change Outlook on Life: Study
Mon Mar 17,11:42 AM ET  

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most newlyweds experience a brief emotional bounce after their wedding, but they eventually return to the same outlook they had on life before they tied the knot, according to a study released on Sunday.

"We found that people were no more satisfied after marriage than they were prior to marriage," the researchers said.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (news - web sites), a publication of the American Psychological Association.

Researchers tracked more than 24,000 people from 1984 to 1995, asking participants every year to rate their overall life satisfaction from zero (totally unhappy) to 10 (totally happy).

The average boost from marriage was small--one-tenth of one point on the scale, researchers said.

The study, which took 15 years to complete, also found that people who were already satisfied with their lives before marriage tended to stay married longer.

"People who get married and stay married are more satisfied than average long before the marriage has occurred," the study said.

Researchers said the results were based on an average and that happiness is an individual experience, reflecting "the fact that marriage can be very pleasant and rewarding but has the potential to be very stressful."

Dorian Solot, co-founder of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, said the study showed marriage was not a cure-all.

"I think it reminds us that there's no magic ticket to happiness. Wedding bells might do it for some people, but true happiness is about you and your own life, not your marital status," said Solot, who also co-wrote "Unmarried to Each Other."

While long-term marriages tend to be happy, a constant search for that initial euphoria could be disastrous, said David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project, a Rutgers University-based think tank on marriage trends.

"It may be one reason for divorce is they are looking to maintain that high level of happiness throughout the marriage, which is kind of impossible for most people," he said.

The study also found that widows and widowers were less likely to regain the same level of happiness they had during their married years, especially if their marriages were satisfying. Most people who lost a spouse but did not remarry took about eight years to recover emotionally.


I just love studies like these. I wonder what things the Alternatives to Marriage Project has for issues.  It is funny, because this survey did not take into account people's religious views and how they affect marriage.  Marriage after all is a thing from God so it is funny that they did not address any spiritual aspects.

Curious, just saw this.  Did the study take into account the variable of those who had been living as married without benefit of marriage (i.e. shaking up) before marriage?
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 10:17:59 PM »

Wow--This thread was posted 6 years ago!  How long has this forum been around, again?  Tongue

Anyway, I think the problem is people see marriage as the cure for unhappiness and loneliness.  The reality is you need more than one person in your support network.  You need friends, family, community!  One person can't take all the burden of your happiness.
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 11:46:03 PM »

Wow--This thread was posted 6 years ago!  How long has this forum been around, again?  Tongue

Anyway, I think the problem is people see marriage as the cure for unhappiness and loneliness.  The reality is you need more than one person in your support network.  You need friends, family, community!  One person can't take all the burden of your happiness.

...in particular if you are not willing to take up your own happiness.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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