A Boring Marriage Is Still Better Than a Thriving Single Life

stressed out coupleFor the most part most experts (and anyone who's ever been married!) agree that you're better off single than in a seriously awful marriage. But what if your marriage isn't awful, just ... MEH. You know, lost in the doldrums, under pressure, way past the honeymoon phase? Well, you'll be surprised by the truth about those kinds of marriages.


Those of you who are married and living through a slump, if you've ever daydreamed about how much happier you'd be as a single gal again you might want to reconsider that fantasy. Marriage is hard, and it's work. But apparently it's (GASP!) worth it! At least for the average couple.

1. Married people are happier than single people. They're more satisfied with their lives. AND! We're talking looong past the honeymoon phase. Just when you'd think you'd be sick of your husband! The average married person is still happier than the average person who never married at all. This was the big take-away from a study by the British National Bureau of Economic Research

2. Marriage makes your midlife crisis less stressful. There's a point in adulthood when life becomes the most stressful and you take a big, scary plummet off the cliff of satisfaction. Well, if you're married that plunge is less severe. “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” said co-author of the study, Shawn Grover. “The biggest benefits come in high-stress environments, and people who are married can handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t because they have a shared load and shared friendship,” says co-author John F. Helliwell.

3. You're even happier when you marry your best friend. In fact, you're twice as happy as couples that report that their spouse is not their best friend. Women, especially, benefit from the spousal BFF situation. "We do think it's more about that social relationship than the legal status," Grover says. "Marriage, in a sense, is a super friendship."

3. Parenting is less depressing if you're married. It's been shown that married couples without children are happier with their relationships than couples with. However, for those of you for whom this information comes too late, "married parents report more global happiness and less depression than single parents," according to a 2011 report by the National Marriage Project.

Hear that? Parenting sucks LESS if you've got someone to help you with it, which ... DUH. But still, it's good to remember that when you're up late at night arguing over whose turn it is to get the baby. At least you have the option of taking turns. 

4. Money troubles may deepen your commitment to each other. WHAT. Another thought-provoking finding by the National Marriage Project is that of married Americans who say the recent recession added financial stress to their marriage, 29 percent said that caused them to deepen their commitment to their marriage. (58 percent said it didn't make a difference either way.) Meanwhile, 38 percent of Americans who were contemplating divorce before the recession say they put aside those plans. For better or worse, being short on funds gave some married couples a second chance.

Now keep in mind, we're talking about average people in average marriages. If you're in an abusive situation, or in a truly dysfunctional marriage, CLEARLY you are going to be happier and more satisfied with your life as a single person. But most of you this could be the kind of encouraging news you need to survive a stressful phase in your marriage. Hang in there!

What do you think? Are you happier in a "blah" marriage than you'd be if you were single?


Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock



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