Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bliss?

According to new research reported in the March issue of Scientific American, the U-shaped curve of marital happiness has been debunked.

For a long time, researchers believed we were happy at the wedding, unhappiest after about 20 years of marriage, then happiest of all at the 50th anniversary -- the traditional U. And, in fact, I would say that pretty much summarizes my own experience. (My spouse will have to speak for herself).

But new and better contrived statistical studies now show that for most Americans it's all down hill from the honeymoon, or at best a leveling out after 20 years or so at a level of relative misery. So much for bliss.

But even if it's not a bed of roses, we still overwhelmingly choose matrimony. SciAm also notes a study by two researchers who sought to calculate the monetary equivalent of marriage's effect on mental well-being. They find that being married is equivalent to making an extra $100,000 a year -- which more than doubles my income. Perhaps we should call it matrimoney.