The First Year of Marriage Won't Be Your Happiest -- So What Year Is?

Love & Learn 14

wedding rings pogo photo levy wedding 2013Fiction and even our own friends on Facebook would have us believe that the first year of marriage is the best.  That everything is perfectly buoyant when you're wearing those post-"I do" rose-colored glasses, in that blissful post-honeymoon bubble. But as it turns out -- well, at least according to a new "study" by U.K. law firm Slater & Gordon -- married couples are actually happiest in their third year of marriage! Ha, go figure!

Sure, this finding may not be the most scientific, but they definitely seem to be onto something ...

After polling 2,000 people, researchers determined that the first year was all about post-wedding exhilaration (or comedown!), and the second year was about "getting to know one another" (um, not so sure about that, given how often couples live together first these days, but okay ...). But the third year of marriage marked the point when couples "begin to settle into a comfortable co-existence, having come to terms with each other's imperfections," the Telegraph explains. Plus, it's when many couples start to plan on having kids  ... and they're also more used to sharing finances by that point. Makes sense!

I wouldn't doubt that for most couples, there are always some changes or challenges you face after the Big Day that can throw a wrench in your happiness that first year. Unfortunately, a lot of couples are ill-prepared for the reality check of marriage being hard work after the big fantasy wedding. And take it from this newlywed - even being together for years can't prevent you from occasionally struggling as a married couple with issues you may not always see eye-to-eye on -- be it money, household chores, sex, work, health, etc.

However, once you hit the third year of your marriage, like juniors in high school, you finally fall into a happy rhythm! Maybe you get a better grasp of where you can agree to disagree and where you need to compromise. Awesome! Too bad researchers then dangle the threat of the fifth year of marriage -- what they say is often difficult due to "tiredness, increased workloads, and for some couples, children." Eeek! Yeah, I buy that.

But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? Researchers found that most couples who successfully made it through the first seven years of marriage were more likely to have a long, happy, and lasting union. Ah, so all you need to do is hit your seventh anniversary, and you'll be maaaade in the shade! Okay, probably not quite. But it is reassuring to know that getting through the hardest parts could lead to even more amazing ones.

What do you think about these findings? What would you guess is the happiest year of marriage -- or what was your own so far?


Image by Emily Pogozelski/

love, marriage


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lobus lobus

Our first year of marriage suuuucckkked. Then he deployed for a year. Then we had a baby which was another kind of struggle. But now at year five and two kids I would say this has been our best year so far and he still gives me butterflies and the sex is great :)

nonmember avatar Amanda

For us, the first eight years were tough!! Kids, money, health issues. We didn't get married under the best circumstances... Buying our own home and having our third child, though... Things are pretty good now after 10 years. Not perfect, but pretty happy. Of course, now that our older two are reaching their tween years, we are dealing with problems stemming from their unhappy early years, but I think we are dealing with it pretty well, and there is much more love and security these days. And, thankfully, we are both well employed and able to pay bills on time and have a little money for fun stuff!

elzin... elzingah36

I guess I wasn't if the "norm". My first year was the best and from year three on were the absolute worst! I'm finally getting my much needed divorce after 18 yrs of marriage,the first two were my best.

jalaz77 jalaz77

First was my easiest. Since we had kids is when I realized that marriage is work. We are happy most of the time , really. Kids do take marriage to another level though.

Momin... MominPa74

Our best was probably our 10th and 11th years. Job loss, stupid economy thru a monkey wrench in that and now going on 18 years just getting good again (hopefully). But our relationship has really never suffered. Just grown and changed over the years. He's my best friend. and even the times we feel more like room mates things are ok and I know they will get better... Our first year was good. All our years have been ok... Just the rest of life that knocked us down.... Oh and we have 2 kids (16 and 10)

cleig... cleigh717

We started having kids first and didn't get married until our eldest was 18 months. And we lived together since he was three months. We r going on our 4th anniversary soon but we don't fit the norm so I guess our experience isn't a traditional one. I would say we have always been happy but life and its frustrations are fairly constant. I think now we r used to them and handle them a bit better than we did at first. I have seen our relationship improve over time though and I do like where we r relationship-wise. I can't wait to see us in 20 yrs though, or even 40 yrs. All that life experience bonding you together has got to be a good feeling.

Poosa... Poosaloosa

This sounds true, at least for us. But 3-6 were wonderful! Then 7 and 8 my husband started acting funny. Not like he was cheating just like he didn't care anymore, he seemed spacey. Turned out he was diabetic once his blood sugar was regulated my normal husband came back. Of course we had our first kid year 8, so that was hard too. But now at year 13 we are figuring out the parenting thing and we are enjoying our marriage more.

MrS.G... MrS.GiFFord

Obviously every one is different. My husband and I barely knew each other got married and pregnant a month after that. The first year was awful because of my pregnancy hormones. He deployed when our first was 5 months and didn't come back until baby was 21 months and I was two month pregnant with our second. We havent had a terrible year after the first. He has been deployed 3 times and we always find our way back to eachother after 9 years and 3 kids.


merry... merrymayhem

Met my husband exactly a year ago, but we were both married previously - 10 and 13 years. If year 1 isn't our best, I can't wait to see how things can get any better!

bingo... bingogurl

Year #5 has been our best. During the first year he was deployed and then came home injured followed by losing his job and becoming depressed which left us struggling emotionally.  With the changes we made in our lives with counseling, we were able to recover the rest of our 5th year and remind us of why we got married with a 5yr anniversary party. I'm excited to make year #6 even better. 

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