It sounds like a trick. The latest research from Australian Unity’s Wellbeing Index claims the first year of marriage is the absolute worst, but stick it out for the next 40 and you’ll be the happiest person in the world.

After this it's all downhill. Photo: Herald Sun

Got to say the story made me laugh a bit - December marks my 18th month of marriage. And while I have to say the ups and downs have been equal for us, they’ve definitely felt different than before we got married. 

Talking about these experiences has been different too. Normally a bit of an open book when it comes to matters of the heart, I’ve definitely felt a reluctance to share - even with the closest friends - for fear of letting the new team down. (National opinion websites aside, of course.)

But that’s exactly the point, Melbourne psychologist Meredith Fuller told The Punch. She said making the transition to thinking about your life, as a partnership, is one of the toughest things you experience in the first year of marriage.

“It’s the two of you now. So that means you have to negotiate things as a couple, not a single. A big part of that is starting to be critical of yourself, as much as you are of the other person and that can be challenging,” Fuller said.

Most of the time these challenges are a result of our human urge to marry the opposite of ourselves. Introverts attract extroverts and vice versa. So while the spontaneity and energy of the extrovert might have been attractive to a person who does not have those qualities, that energy can be different when it’s translated to the business of everyday life.

“We want to marry the person who is different to us, but when we are married we want them to be the same as us.

“For example, the extrovert might get home on a Friday night bursting with enthusiasm for a huge weekend out and about, while the introvert comes home looking forward to winding down. Negotiating that can be difficult,” said Fuller.

Not surprisingly, open and honest communication is the most effective remedy for these first year marital woes.

Fuller said while you may have been too busy and caught up with wedding prep and excitement to talk about the tricky stuff like, habits, kids or no kids, travel plans, money etc – all of that has to come out in the first year.

But here’s the good news, once you’ve teased them out and got everything on the table, Fuller said you’re on the road to the really happy place.

“In the first year you’re basically creating the glue that will keep you together.  You got to learn to how fight well, make up well, negotiate and accommodate someone else in your space.”

The rest as they say, is a piece of cake.

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    • AdamC says:

      09:51am | 03/12/12

      Given that most newlyweds today would actually have been living with each other for some time before getting married, I cannot see why couples would suddenly have to learn to compromise and communicate only after saying ‘I do’. Surely they would have got that down pat before they walked down the aisle?

      I wonder if some long-established couples might think that getting married will magically change their relationship.  In this day and age, I do not think getting married would change much at all. (Though I do have this old-fashioned notions that couples should marry before they have kids. Many couples do not do this, though.)

    • Elphaba says:

      11:08am | 03/12/12

      Absolutely.  I think a lot of couple expect some lightning moment where things are suddenly different after getting married, when if you’ve lived together, it’s pretty much same same.  Still got to pay the bills, walk the dog, clean the house and make time for one another.

      I’m with you on the old-fashioned notion of marriage before kids.  If it was just me and partner and we were remaining kid free, I wouldn’t worry about being married.  But if he wanted kids, I would tell him I wanted a ring.  No wedding ceremony or any of that guff - just take me to the registry office and make it official.  Then I’ll carry all the progeny he wants.

      Sounds fair. smile

    • JTO says:

      11:13am | 03/12/12

      Where getting married changed things for me was in the long term planning. So long as you’re not married, there’s no long term, just the present. The big things in life require sacrifice (kids, mortgage, that sort of thing). Why would you make sacrifices for someone that hasn’t made a commitment? So even after being together for 10 years, getting married changed things in a big way. The next 10 were heaps better I’ve gotta say, apart from a minor (ok huge) hiccup in the middle.

    • Pattem says:

      11:23am | 03/12/12

      @AdamC, you stated: “In this day and age, I do not think getting married would change much at all.”

      So why are the Homosexual Lobby Groups lobbying for the right to marriage, if nothing is actually changed in a relationship by being married?

      These groups obviously feel there is something worth fighting for that is inherit in marriage that isn’t available to them in Civil Unions or De Facto relationships.

    • JTO says:

      11:37am | 03/12/12

      Pattem - My sister’s partner was referred to as her “friend” by my dad, even though they’d been together for as long as my wife and I (20+ years). The fight for marriage equality in this case is about recognition and the right to be an equal part of society. Why should their relationship not be treated as equal to mine? There are plenty of childless married couples, so that doesn’t come into it.

    • Ally says:

      12:04pm | 03/12/12

      Agreed, AdamC. It would amaze me to find out there are couples that have gotten married without discussing the big issues, or that people think that their partner is magically going to change their mind on the big issues once they’re married.

      I’m also of the same traditional mould of marriage before kids. This is probably a bit controversial, but in the event that I was unmarried and had a kid, it would be taking my last name until such time that we were married.

    • AdamC says:

      12:24pm | 03/12/12

      You’re not getting clucky now, are you, Elphaba?

      JTO, I guess that depends on the relationship. There are certainly a lot of de facto relationships out there where the couple is committed to a future together.

      Pattem, well, I guess not being able to get married, we haven’t figured out that it isn’t really a big deal. For gay activists, of course, it is more complicated. For them, gay marriage is really about ‘getting in the tent’, as it were.

      Ally, I agree.

    • JTO says:

      12:41pm | 03/12/12

      AdamC - Of course it depends on the relationship. That’s the rule these days. Are you suggesting that there should be one paradigm for everyone? That’ll work. Sure it will. Because we’re all the same. Except me… I’m different.

    • Elphaba says:

      12:49pm | 03/12/12

      “You’re not getting clucky now, are you, Elphaba?”

      Blechh, nope.  I’d rather have a dog than a kid. wink

      I do have a date tomorrow night though.  He seems normal.  Not like the goob I went out with 2 weeks ago who was rather ungentlemanly at the door and then whom I had to let down gently… and who last week, texted me AGAIN… after I refused a second date.  I thought only women were supposed to be smothery with the non-stop contact…

    • Kika says:

      12:58pm | 03/12/12

      @Elphaba - Mine wanted to move in with me. I said I wanted a ring. I got the ring. Hahaha.

    • Philosopher says:

      01:05pm | 03/12/12

      Elphaba - sounds like you need a Doberman as a companion? That should cool ‘em down a bit.

    • Elphaba says:

      01:23pm | 03/12/12

      @Kika, yep, it’s all about compromise!  I think if both people are getting the security they need, that’s all that matters.  I’ve got no problem with families where the parents aren’t married, but for me, if kids were on the agenda, I’d want the piece of paper.

    • Pattem says:

      01:52pm | 03/12/12

      @JTO, and yet there are so many heterosexual couples who do not want the stigma or committment involved with marriage so they choose Civil Unions and/or De Facto relationships.  You don’t hear these people whingeing and whining about not having the same rights as married couples. 

      And that’s because they do have the same rights, as does any couple, hetero or homosexual who choose these alternatives to Marriage.

      Changes were made to the Family Law Act in 1999 to afford De Facto couples rights that had previously been exclusive to married couples.

    • Elphaba says:

      01:53pm | 03/12/12

      @Philosopher, I’ve got to stop being so damn awesome. :(

    • Philosopher says:

      02:07pm | 03/12/12

      hahahaha Elphaba, those poor men will be in therapy for ever.
      Good luck with tomorrow’s Mr Normal. Just don’t bring up Punch’s favourite topics: politics and feminism.

    • JTO says:

      02:14pm | 03/12/12

      Pattem - Of course they don’t whine. With the full array of options available, they chose what best suited them. Pointing out that gay couples have access to the “other” options is the problem. They are not “other”. They are us.

      What I don’t understand, so please enlighten me, is why should gay couples *not* get married if that’s what they want? How does it effect you? Serious question.

      Elphaba - Not a doberman. Lovely dogs but thick as planks. A lot of men also find a woman with a big dog to be very attractive. It might scare the a’holes away though.

    • Elphaba says:

      02:23pm | 03/12/12

      @Philosopher, gawd no.  Light topics - hobbies, likes, dislikes, family, friends, etc etc smile

    • Pattem says:

      03:15pm | 03/12/12

      @JTO, sorry, I have not even used the word “other” in any of my posts, so what are you referring to?  De Facto and Civil Unions are not “other” options.  They are simply options!

      That is like saying, there’s the chocolate ice-cream, and your other options are strawberry and vanilla.  Just because the chocolate ice-cream is the favourite or preferred flavour, doesn’t make the strawberry and vanilla any less of an option; they are still legitimite and totally delicious flavours.

      You stated, “why should gay couples *not* get married if that’s what they want?”

      Are you so sure that that is what “gays” want?  For example, there are a number of websites of gays lobbying against marriage, such as:

      Or some quotes:

      Or, as the Mail Online writer Andrew Pierce wonders: “Well, Mr Cameron, I am a Conservative and a homosexual, and I oppose gay marriage. Am I a bigot? And what about Alan Duncan, the first Conservative MP to come out as gay? Mr Duncan, the International Aid Minister who is in a civil partnership, is implacably opposed to gay marriage. So is Dr David Starkey, the celebrated historian, who is openly gay.”

      Or, “In The Irish Times, Richard Waghorne, a self-identified gay commentator and researcher, argues that “marriage equality” is driven by an intolerant liberal faction. Moreover, it undermines our time-honoured traditions. “The reason,” he argues “for opposing the unnecessary elevation of civil partnerships to the notional status of marriage is that marriage then loses its nature as the one institution supported by society because it is the family form which on average gives a child the most advantageous upbringing.”

      The actions of the Homosexual Lobby Groups do not necessarily speak for all homosexuals.  So you may want to rethink the notion that “gays just want to get married”, as a fundamentally accurate statement.

    • Nick says:

      03:57pm | 03/12/12

      I don’t think marriage is a prerequisite for kids etc…if you’re committed you’re committed.  We’re in our 40’s, never married, and we’ve got two lovely kids and numerous non-human members of our household, had joint finances well before that, bought and sold various home and investment properties etc, moved all over the world together for work, supported one another through various periods of unemployment, study, personal crisis and so forth, negotiated everything from our spending habits to our sex life etc etc blah blah.  Maybe if you’re in your early 20’s it makes a difference but if you’re older then I think it’s more about the life you’ve lived and want to live.

    • JTO says:

      03:59pm | 03/12/12

      Pattem - De facto and civil unions are “other” options simply because they are not marriage.

      Your idea that not all gay couples want to get married is both obvious and irrelevant.

      Finally, the beauty of a forum such as this is that the evidence remains. I never suggested that “gays” just want to get married, particularly as I wouldn’t personally use the word “gays”.

      Some gay people do, and they should be able to. You have provided not a scrap of a suggestion as to why they shouldn’t. Please think about that.

    • Pattem says:

      06:20pm | 03/12/12

      @JTO, the latest Australia census Australia has 32,000 homosexual couples and 4.6 million heterosexual couples.  These 32 000 homosexual couples represent less than 0.7% of all couples and, because of the fluidity of their relationships, this does not necessarily indicate long-term commitment. Census data indicated that only about 1300 couples had felt strongly enough about their domestic situations to become ‘married’ overseas.

      What this means is that only about 4% of homosexuals are even vaguely interested in same sex marriage.

      If same-sex marriage is approved, how long will it be before the use of the terms Husband of Wife are outlawed, and we have to refer to our spouses as Partner 1 and Partner 2?

      If you think that is merely hysteria, read this:

    • TChong says:

      10:01am | 03/12/12

      Who would actually wait to be married before discussing kids etc?
      Sounds like a very antiquated way of doing things.

      Most of these type of very important issues are discussed / anlysised
      over and over , for years ( by many) during the live in defacto part of the relationship.
      Waiting for post wedding to discuss babies, would probaly only be practiced by those who believe in virgins on the wedding night.
      ie- not very many.

    • Going straight to hell for that one says:

      10:54am | 03/12/12

      I thought virgins on my wedding night was a good idea but unfortunately my wife didn’t agree and felt we should spend it together

    • Philosopher says:

      12:40pm | 03/12/12

      you can always pretend; you will find many Middle Eastern ‘doctors’ who are willing to make her a ‘virgin’ again for a small fee. They realise it often saves the life of the woman.

    • Gordon says:

      10:13am | 03/12/12

      Happy 18 month anniversary Lucy. Long marriages are self-selecting for happiness. It’s obvious really. As unhappily married people divorce all you have left after 40 years is ridiculously happy couples.

    • TheRealDave says:

      11:33am | 03/12/12

      No, you have people that couldn’t be arsed screwing things around after 40 years wink

    • Anjuli says:

      10:15am | 03/12/12

      After being married for 59 years ,it is not the first year of marriage but the first 10 years ,so I was told all those years ago . I have found it is all about tolerance of each other ,give and take and never hold a grudge because there is lots of the last even after 59 years.
      I agree with Adam there is no need if you are not going to have children , another when retired married couples receive way less than a single pensioner if you go by monetary terms.
      Unless if you have the money and go to court prove ,although you live in the same house you do not cook or clean for the other.  A recent case the lady won ,received the single pension ,while others have to be on the married pension I don’t see how the magistrate came to that conclusion,they still live in the same house.

    • Fiona says:

      06:32pm | 03/12/12

      So because my husband and I haven’t had children (he has 3 from his first marriage) we shouldn’t have gotten married? What a crock of shit. Our marriage is as valid as anyone else who chooses to have children. Our commitment to each other is as real as anyone’s. It is our statement to the world that we commit to each other.
      And people are considered as living in a marriage-like relationship therefore get treated the same as those who are actually married for Centrelink Pension purposes. There’s more to judging a relationship than whether or not a couple cooks or cleans for each other.

    • Anjuli says:

      10:31am | 03/12/12

      @ Gordon. Maybe the answer would be to renew the license every 4 years by both .Wasn’t it the African Bushman tribe who had that option ?.

    • acotrel says:

      10:47am | 03/12/12

      ‘Not surprisingly, open and honest communication is the most effective remedy for these first year marital woes.’

      You know the answer, but what do you do when your partner has been abused as a kid, and is programmed to offer only passive resistance and attitude, never resolution of issues ? As farmers say ‘when buying a cow always look at the mother’, but it is sometimes a lot of bull. If you are about to get married - ‘TAKE CARE’!

    • NotSoSimple says:

      10:48am | 03/12/12

      I’ve been married for a long time. There are many  things I wish I’d learned earlier in our relationship, it may have been happier in it’s earlier years, I agree. However, we have learned valuable lessons about how to work through issues without combusting. We have learned which battles are worth fighting and which are trivial. We have learned that a compatible philosophy on life is a must. We have learned that mutual respect and trust is essential. We  have also learned that thinking you are ONLY part of a couple is just as deadly to a marriage as not honouring the partnership. You must allow latitude for each other’s personal pursuits and ambitions to flourish. Happy individuals make happy husbands and wives. No one person can satisfy all your needs, but one person can be the closest, most intimate relationship of your life. True intimacy is precious and it grows with time, if you’re lucky and work at it. Otherwise, your familiarity may simply breed contempt.

    • Loxy says:

      12:34pm | 03/12/12

      Beautifully said!

    • Philosopher says:

      12:46pm | 03/12/12

      ‘No one person can satisfy all your needs…’
      I hear ya; that’s why I visit Roxanne every month wink
      Just kidding!

    • Philosopher says:

      01:41pm | 03/12/12

      Economist: I’d like to say I’m more of the Mike Tyson type, but who am I kidding? The only ears I have nibbled are my wife.

    • TheHuntress says:

      11:11am | 03/12/12

      I have just celebrated my three year anniversary. The man I married was someone I’d known for a year and happened to become very close friends with. We weren’t dating but one day he said I want to marry you, I said ok and we married in secret six weeks later on the Matilda Bay foreshore by UWA. I wore a fab red dress, only the closest friends and family were invited (about a dozen guests) and we had a great time eating at Matilda Bay restaurant afterwards before heading to The Ellington Jazz club to finish the night off. There was little planning, much happiness and a great time had by all.

      So from there we moved in together, with my then 5 year old son and started to build our life. It hasn’t always been easy, but we are fiercely loyal to each other and still have that wonderful friendship that prompted us to marry. We hadn’t co-habitated so we have started from scratch - all the big discussions like children, jobs, living arangements have evolved as time has gone on. It has helped that we are both very independant people and are happy regardless of whether we do things as a couple or an individual - neither of us has lost our sense of self regarding goals and ambitions. Most importantly of all we have a deep trust in each other, which ultimately conquers any misgivings that could potentially occur (We both enjoy our freedom to do what we want, when we want, with who we want and come home when we’re ready - wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for us).

      So far, so good. Lets see what happens in our fourth year - I am aiming for forty years, so it would seem I have something to look forward to.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      11:41am | 03/12/12

      I love stories like this, congrats on your 3 years.

      Black Dynamite.

    • The Huntress says:

      03:00pm | 03/12/12

      Thanks, Black Dynamite. I love our story too, I hope it generally stays that way smile

    • Philosopher says:

      03:50pm | 03/12/12

      @TheHuntress, is your second-last paragraph saying what I think it’s saying?

    • TheHuntress says:

      05:31pm | 03/12/12

      Ummm, not too sure Philosopher. Just that we have loyalty and trust in our relationship to allow each other to do things individually without cause for anger or jealousy. As far as I’m aware there has been no infidelity in our relationship (I think that’s what you might be getting at), but I do take the approach that if there has what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:32am | 03/12/12

      After the 2nd Year: “I’ve got a headache” starts
      After the 3rd Year:  “I’ve got to work late (on my bit on the side)” starts
      After the 4th Year:  “You drink too much”
      After the 5th Year:  “Yes, your bum Dooes look big in that”
      After the 6th Year:  “God! you ARE getting FAT”
            ditto           “Christ! you’ve got a HUGE gut”
      From then on it’s silence, definitely No Sex (though both are getting a bit outside)
      It’s no wonder the longer a marriage lasts the better it becomes ‘cos it’s become just like that tatty old cardigan or ratty slippers. A Habit you are too bloody old tobe bothered to give up!
      Actually for one of my family the marriage never really started for after the wedding night (they had “kept themselves Nice”) on jokingly being asked the usual smutty question the snapped response was:
      “I may as well not have gotten married for her mother gave her a sleeping pill”!!!!

    • AdamC says:

      12:02pm | 03/12/12

      Wow, that’s top marks for pessimism.

      Maybe you were drinking too much? That may explain why you told her she was getting fat ...

    • Pattem says:

      11:38am | 03/12/12

      After 6 years of courtship (living apart with lots of commuting) and six years of marriage, I have learned that compromise is more important than communication.

      Most things are not worth arguing about and I find my wife’s happiness and/or welbeing is more important than my own.

      If anyone asks me for advice, I always give: “Don’t ask what your marriage can do for your (what you can get out of it), rather ask what you can do for your marriage (what you can put into it).”

      These attitudes certainly don’t stop all the arguments and upset, but I find they go a long way. smile

    • Testfest says:

      12:45pm | 03/12/12


      That was some depressing reading.

      Only your wife’s happiness matters? Her wellbeing is more important than yours?

      Compromise does NOT mean “give her everything she wants, no matter what you think.” That’s no way to live, mate. Sooner or later all your years of repressed desires and frustrations are going to come out, and it won’t be pretty.

      Your advice isn’t all bad (paraphrasing the Kennedy quote) and I take your point about not being selfish, but at some point you really do need to have a good look at what she is doing for the marriage too.

      Based on the tiny amount of information you provided, I’m obviously not in possession of all the facts, but from your post it sounds very much like you are a doormat. I hope I’m wrong, but ask yourself this: of all the times you and your wife disagreed on something, how many times did she agree to do things your way? 50% of the time? Or is that number far, far less..?

    • Pattem says:

      02:11pm | 03/12/12

      @Testfest,  thanks for your concern smile

      Depressing?  Far from it, mate.  I couldn’t be in a happier, more loving relationship.  I simply put my wife before myself.  Hey, both of us are as pigheaded as each other, so I am definitely no doormat. smile  She doesn’t always get what she wants.  I concede, she concedes, but in the main I probably compromise 60% of the time.  Not that we keep tabs on this!

      My pleasure and reward comes from seeing my wife happy, and the boons that come forthwith; and these appease the “repressed desires and frustrations” you so eloquently alluded to.  smile

    • Pattem says:

      02:34pm | 03/12/12

      @ Testfest, when I “have a good look at what she is doing for the marriage too,” I always reach the same conclusion:

      Gee I’m a lucky guy to have this woman as my wife!

      She is such a hard-working, passionate, caring, sharing, level-headed, practical, principled woman, there is everything to like.  Her only foible would be her pigheadedness, but she acknowledges that.


    • Philosopher says:

      03:45pm | 03/12/12

      don’t listen to Testfest Pattem, you sound like a fine fellow. Happy wife, happy life etc etc. Women pick up on a bloke’s self-confidence like a shark picks up blood molecules in the water… it can make one hell of a difference if you are willing to accommodate her, and vice versa. Now I’ll stop before I sound like a Hallmark Card, I prefer Sayings of Evil.

    • Pattem says:

      04:16pm | 03/12/12

      @Philosopher, thank you for your vote of confidence with the “Fine Fellow” line [chuffed]

      I firmly believe that being a “good husband” is an important goal in life.  And in three months time I will add to that “being a good father”.

      Hey, c’mon, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional Hallmark Moment.

    • Economist says:

      11:39am | 03/12/12

      Well I’m going to say it. A successful marriage is where you provide enough space for people to pursue their own interests, a key is to not live in one another’s pocket.

      Jealousy in a relationship is a disaster. I’ve known people jealous of the other partners attention whether it be from the children to friends and other family members. I’ve known women to become jealous of the relationship their husbands have with the mother in law.

      Having a sufficient flow of money to provide basic needs with some luxuries whether through both working reduces stress.

      Tag team parenting works, but family time through one activity a week is important.

      Finally having one set of in-laws interstate reduces potential family tensions. While not having access to free day care may be difficult. It’s worth it.

    • andye says:

      02:38pm | 03/12/12

      @Economist: “Jealousy in a relationship is a disaster. I’ve known people jealous of the other partners attention whether it be from the children to friends and other family members. I’ve known women to become jealous of the relationship their husbands have with the mother in law.”

      Jealousy is generally a sign of something else wrong with the person or the relationship. It may be a weakness in the jealous person, possibly a reflection of previous hurts. It can just be plain old paranoia. It can be about control.

      It can also be a sign that your intuition is correct.

      Without going into a long story, a relationship I was once in began to be characterised by my lack of trust and jealousy. I was slowly convinced that I was crazy and a total jerk over a long period. So I ignored my gut and felt terribly guilty for being so crazy.

      It came to pass that I discovered that the truth went way further than I could have ever imagined and that my paranoid fantasies were in fact quite conservative in the light of the actual facts. If only I had realised that at the time and not been manipulated to question my own instincts and sanity! I would have been able to go and get on with my life sooner, instead of being led around like a fool.

      The point being that in some cases jealousy and mistrust are actually the appropriate feelings to have, and are a sign you should leave.

    • Philosopher says:

      04:12pm | 03/12/12

      Andye: oh dear. I hope you got someone on the rebound, thus spreading your misery and anger?

    • Peter Scott says:

      11:40am | 03/12/12

      What nonsense!  Marriage is not natural, it’s a sadistic forced social construct.

      To expect that two people are going to spend their whole life together is utterly ridiculous

      Even cavemen were more intelligent than us as they obviously understood that

    • Tabitha says:

      02:57pm | 03/12/12

      Oh yeah, and where are your “intelligent cavemen” today? Dead, that’s where. Stupid cavemen.

    • TheRealDave says:

      11:42am | 03/12/12

      Funnily enough, I have in my desk draw, the ‘Intent to Marry’ forms I printed out on Friday. My missus and I have been together for…shit…15 years now….no…14 and a half…it just seems a lot lot longer. We have 3 awesome kids, mortage, bills, school fees and all that. Just like most people ‘our age’. We’ve never felt the need to ‘marry’ or waste a bucketload of cash on one day when we can put it towards bills and crap. But now she is thinking we should do it because her mum has cancer and is pretty much on her last legs. We still haven’t decided yet…just talking about it…but apparently I need to lodge the forms now ‘just incase’ we decide to do it.

      From experience - enjoy yourself as much as you can in those first couple of years, because, married or not, once the kids come along - while they are an abolute joy and treasure to have THATS when your issues will start. Thats where the real storm of any realtionship will kick off and drag on for decades wink If your realtionship is crap in that first year or anytime after - having kids won’t make it better, it will just make it worse.

      By 40 years - you’ve been through all that and come out the other end and hopefully survived. The kids are out of the hosue and have their own lives, you’ve got yoru house and a good nest egg saved up, you’r eprobably looking at retirement or already have.  By then you are also too old, comfortable and lazy to start all over again or on your own! No wonder you’re bloody happy!

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:11pm | 03/12/12

      “but stick it out for the next 40 and you’ll be the happiest person in the world”

      I hope these people adjusted for the different environments and societies people at either end of the spectrum were brought up and educated in. To be married for 40 years means you’d be well into your 60s by now. That means you were born in the 1950s and would have been married by the time second wave feminism had only just got going. People marrying today have been brought up in the post-feminist environment which is currently seeing the end of third wave feminism and the new hyper-socialist “everyone should be paid the same and outcomes should always be the same regardless of inputs” fourth wave feminism. These people are going to have different experiences compared to the oldies both now and in 40 years’ time especially once the complete effects of these different waves have washed their way through society.

      “So that means you have to negotiate things as a couple, not a single”

      Wouldn’t you have already been doing this as a couple whilst you were dating, then in a relationship, then engaged? Therefore, there should be no difference between long-term relationship and marriage.

      “We want to marry the person who is different to us, but when we are married we want them to be the same as us”

      Really cannot agree with this.

    • the nothing person says:

      12:21pm | 03/12/12

      after 40 years of marriage . you do not need your original families .
      after 49 years, you are too old to bother!

    • Zeta says:

      12:47pm | 03/12/12

      Only slightly off topic, but did anyone actually read Aus Unity’s wellbeing index this year? Only marginal changes across all the metrics, which is probably why their flacks are shilling the marriage story - except the longitudinal trend in percentage of Australians who think a terrorist attack likely has plummeted to a new 5 year low, even accounting for a really abberent dip in 2008.

      What’s also weird is that when you track the trend of subjective perception of likelihood of terror attack against the same year’s survey of satisfaction with Government’s national security provisions - Australians actually seem to feel less like they’re about to be bombed when they feel like our national security isn’t as good as it could be. Or maybe when they don’t notice the nation’s security aparatus they don’t think about terrorism and so are less concerned with it?

      I think that’s a better story than some pap about marriage really not clicking in for 40 years. I don’t need some statisticians at Deakin to tell me marriage is miserable for 4 decades until you’re too old and frail to get laid with anyone else so you just accept it. But thanks any way.

    • Kika says:

      01:08pm | 03/12/12

      Ok so by the time we’ve been married 40 years I’ll be 65 and my husband will be 75. No wonder we’ll be happy! Our baby will be 35 and hopefully moved out, working and making Grandchildren for us and we will be so old we won’t care about stupid things. As long as we get our cup of tea and some bingo in who cares what else happens! It will be good enough just being alive!

      I totally get it though - the first year for us was pretty good. We live rather compatibly. Prior to this relationship my ex and I co-habitated for quite a few years before I pulled the pin on the relationship. I was not happy about being someone’s Mum looking after the house while he was out having fun every night. I would have gone out too but I wasn’t allowed. Totally not fun and definitely not a happy relationship.

    • BrianN says:

      03:44pm | 03/12/12

      well, the first year is the hardest one because it takes about a year for a white wife to castrate and emasculate the husband in western style marriages nowadays. After that it is easy because the husband is a little puppy in the hands of these abusive women, you can call those men war slaves if you like!!

    • bec says:

      05:42pm | 03/12/12

      What about us white ladies who are in interracial marriages? Do we emasculate our husbands oriental style?

    • St. Michael says:

      06:23pm | 03/12/12

      What, as opposed to the five years or so it takes a “yellow” wife to castrate, emasculate, and manipulate the silly mid-life-crisis husband who’s gone to some godawful humid country to buy a sexual partner there?

      Not that we’re generalising, mind.

    • It's the in-laws you have to worry about! says:

      04:46pm | 03/12/12

      Being married is a piece of cake. It’s once you pop out a baby, all the fun begins. I’m not talking about my husband or I either. I’m talking about my husband’s parents who became the biggest pair of backstabbing p*icks after our daughter was born. Our parenting is constantly belittled, questioned and they find no problem with excluding me when it comes to decisions about our daughter/our house or borrowing money from us. In fact they go out of their way to ensure I don’t get a say. I might be married to their son and have produced their only grandchild, but these days I might as well be invisible.
      Oh well, with any luck they’ll be dead sooner rather than later.

    • Pattem says:

      05:53pm | 03/12/12

      Aargh, tragic.  Grandparents should back off and let parents be parents.  I have seen a number of Asian friends pull their hair out because of interfering grandparents.

      I wish you patience and forebearance!


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