Why Do Happy Newlyweds Eventually Divorce?

November 16, 2011 by

Relationship problems are often the least of your worries when you’re a newlywed. Most couples are still riding high on all those wonderful “love” hormones. The world seems perfect, and you know you found your soul mate. So why do some of these happy couples end up divorcing years down the road? What happened to that connection you thought would last forever?

A recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology looked at 136 couples who reported “stably high levels of relationship satisfaction in the first 4 years of marriage.” Ten years later, they looked at which couples stayed together and which couples divorced. The ones that separated displayed more negative communication, emotion, and social support as newlyweds compared with couples who did not divorce.

This may not be that surprising, but what is interesting is that they found no significant difference in relationship satisfaction or in positive behaviors. In fact, the researchers believe that these strengths may have actually masked their liabilities. Couples who struggle early on in their marriage may in some ways be at an advantage since their troubles are easier to see and thus easier to address.

Prevent Relationship Problems by Learning Communication Skills Early

Does that mean you should be worried if your first few years of marriage were blissful? Certainly not! Whether or not you have trouble in the future, you have strengths that you can build on. But it does mean that learning positive communication and interpersonal skills with a Portland marriage counselor can help protect you from divorce even if you don’t have relationship problems today.