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Tuesday 4 December 2012

Australian Unity Wellbeing Index 2012: wedded bliss downhill in first year

A new study has found that the happiest husbands and wives are those who been married for more than 40 years. Yep, that's four whole decades. The research, by Deakin University's Australian Centre on Quality of Life, measured the happiness of 2000 people on a scale of 0 - 100.

The average score for the Australian population was 75, but couples in their first year of marriage scored a rating of 73.9 compared with people who have been married for four-plus decades at 79.8.

Even the lead author, Dr Melissa Weinberg, was surprised by the findings:

''It's a little unexpected because the perception is that newlywed couples should be the happiest but in reality that's not the case,'' she said.

Ain't that the truth.

My husband and I did not live together - this was totally our choice and were we happy we made it - and so the first year was... interesting. The dynamics of our relationship did of course vastly change when we co-habitated and to this day some of the same issues keep rearing their head. Yes, ugly head because it can indeed get, ah, feisty. [Yep, that's us below. SO full of optimism]. 

In line with this report, I was excited to see my friends Kim and Anthony Bray in an article in The Australian newspaper yesterday. You can read more here.

They talked about their small wedding of 60 last year, and how they were keeping an expected surprise under wraps from guests: they were having a baby.

I was one of the guests at their wedding, and I recall saying goodbye to Kim at the night's end, and she whispered this wonderful secret in my ear: she was pregnant.

So, imagine their experience of marriage... from solo to plus-one in the space of around a year. I can attest: before kids come along, relationships are far easier to maintain and nurture.

Ironically, Kim really knows her stuff when it comes to weddings - she founded the event 'Ultimate Wedding Planning Party', held each year at Sydney Opera House.

"Says Kim: "The event is a planning event but the experts do get on stage and talk to brides and grooms about the importance of the legal binding part of getting married and how your ceremony/vows are important; that’s what I found through the process of getting married.

"It’s not just the big party and dress but the agreement you are getting into with your partner and when the going gets tough - as it often does, especially when external factors come in such as kid - one needs to remember the wedding day and what your promised each other."

Couldn't have said it better myself. For more info on the event, click right here.

The research was carried out for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, and it also found that couples bounce back from post-wedding ceremony depression, with their happiness score increasing to 78.4 in the second year of marriage. See? it does get better...

What's your experience of the first year of marriage? Dreamy, or disastrous?

Please share your thoughts below.

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