Marital bliss and marital satisfaction have many different narratives. One is that marriage starts as romantic and passionate, but then cools to a more settled or business-like coexistence. Another is that the financial circumstances of the couple or family impact their happiness.
Researchers at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia looked at these commonly held beliefs because many past studies were conducted using predominantly white, middle-class couples. This, researchers wondered, may have led to a skewed perspective marital satisfaction and do couples in lower tax brackets see a decline in satisfaction or happiness.
Researchers followed 431 couples in Los Angeles Country between 2009 and 2014, contacting them five times to answer eight questions that measured their satisfaction. The questions included:
- How much do you trust your partner?
- Are you satisfied with the amount of time spent together?
The answers were used to determine that marital satisfaction was relatively high (60%), moderate (30%) or low (10%).
The study measured the trajectory of satisfaction among the participants, which seem to decline most with women who started at the low end of the spectrum. Researchers found that men on the low end were prone to increased satisfaction.
Is it tied to economics?
The researchers tracked the impact of economic conditions. They found that wives in the lower-income bracket were disproportionately less satisfied than wives in other brackets. Husbands, on the other hand, in the lowest income bracket were on par with those in the higher ones.
The takeaway to this
The circumstances prompting divorce or dissatisfaction are unique to each couple. According to the study, the most significant drop in satisfaction was wives in the lowest income bracket who low rates of satisfaction, highlighting their deep concerns over socioeconomic risk.
Of course, different couples have different comfort levels with economic risk. Those uncomfortable with their circumstances or marital satisfaction may wish to speak with an attorney about filing for divorce.