12 Surprising Little Things That Can Make or Break Your Marriage

Adriana Velez | Jul 28, 2015 Love & Sex
12 Surprising Little Things That Can Make or Break Your Marriage

All you need is love? Nope. It's actually all the little things that affect how happy your relationship is. That's what a 10-year survey of couples in Australia revealed. And you'd be surprised what some of those things are.

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  • Not Being Married


    Image via Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock

    In general, unmarried, cohabiting couples report more satisfaction with their relationships than married couples do.

    That said, married couples stay together longer than cohabiting couples do. I suppose not being married makes it easier to check out when that new-relationship glow wears off.

  • Mental Illness


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    The biggest cause of separation for couples is physical abuse of wives -- not surprisingly! But the second biggest cause is poor mental health. And a male partner's mental health has a stronger effect on a relationship than a female partner's.

  • Kids, Of Course


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    Having children makes you more likely to separate, for both married and cohabiting couples. Having dependent children decreases relationship satisfaction for women and men alike. Kids!

    More from The Stir: Moms Confess How Kids Changed Their Marriage for Better -- Or Worse!

  • Winning the Lottery


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    A big financial windfall can cause cohabiting couples to separate, but not married couples. This happens to so few people, though, that the researchers say it's not statistically significant. We're just staying, in case you play the lotto.

  • Never Being a Bride


    Image via Aleshyn_Andrei/Shutterstock

    Both married and cohabiting women become less satisfied with their relationships as time goes by. But after 10 years, the unmarried girlfriends are less happy than the wives are. That unhappiness just grows stronger at the 20-year not-married-versary.

  • Not Having a Job


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    Women who work full-time and part-time report less relationship satisfaction than women who are jobless. That said, employed women tend to be a tad happier with their relationship when they work at least 50 hours a week. Huh?

  • Being a Fuddy-Duddy


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    Men don't like being with women who are more adventurous than they are. This could be because they fear those women will cheat on them ... I suspect maybe it's emasculating. At any rate, ladies with a wild streak would be well-advised to avoid those more conservative/steady types everyone wants them to settle down with.

    More from The Stir: 12 Reasons Your Man Doesn't Want to Have Sex Anymore

  • Being a Squeaky Wheel


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    In general, couples are happier when they're equally agreeable. However, among mismatched couples, the more disagreeable wives tend to also be more satisfied. Maybe because she's not holding things in? Express yourself, women.

    More from The Stir: Happy Wives Really Do Make Happy Lives

  • Different Education Levels


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    Couples are happier when they have similar levels of education, and this is especially true of people who did not complete high school. Women with college degrees tend to be especially unhappy hitched to men who lack a high school diploma. 

  • Drinkin' & Smokin'


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    Couples in which only one partner smokes or drinks are less happy. Either you quit, or you both indulge equally in those vices.

  • Being a Woman


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    Overall women are less satisfied with their relationships than their male partners are. Maybe we just have higher standards, you know? We are least happy in our 40s and 50s, though things get better in our 60s. The big exception for women is having a partner who is at least five years younger than we are. Hmm, maybe JLo, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Madonna are onto something.

  • Being an 'Old' Married Couple


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    Marriage gets better, though! When you're old. While married couples lose satisfaction over the years they regain it around their 20th wedding anniversary. Maybe because the kids are gone? Married men in their 60s are supercalifragilistically happy.


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