Valentine’s Day is all hearts and flowers and mushy goodness.
In the midst of all this mushy goodness, it’s sometimes a relief to view the day through a lens of reality, such as the one displayed in the meme below:
For many parents, that last point is far more realistic than most would like to admit. In fact, it is those early and exhausting years of child-rearing that can send some couples to the brink of unhappiness.
But as a new study from the Marriage Foundation suggests, that unhappiness is not necessarily a sign that couples should split and move on to other experiences and partners. Instead, new parents who stick it out and weather the storm overwhelmingly report being in a happy marriage a decade later:
“Our analysis of data from 10,000 parents with new born children in the Millennium Cohort Study finds that only 5% of new parents were initially unhappy with their relationship.
Of this small minority, 30% split up within ten years. Of those who stayed together, two thirds reported that they were now happy and only 7% still unhappy. This means that, among all parents, just 1 in 400 start off unhappy, stay together and are still unhappy ten years later.”
We’re often told that our own happiness is the greatest thing in life and something for which we should strive above all else.
But is it possible that the over-emphasis on our present happiness might actually be hindering our greater, long-term fulfillment? Would many troubled couples actually find the happy marriage they are longing for if they were willing to weather the storm instead of simply jumping ship, as the study seems to imply?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.