Science reveals if getting married makes us happier

As society progresses and evolves, marriage seems to become a more complicated issue with every passing year. It’s so acceptable now to live with someone before you’re married, that the wedding can often appear to just be an expensive party. But does marriage itself make us happier? A recent study by the Journal of Family Psychology set out to answer that question. And the answer seems to echo a lot of today’s sentiments: living together pretty much gives the same exact level of satisfaction as being married does.

The research was taken from a group of 8,700 people born between the years of 1980 and 1984, and they were re-surveyed every year for ten years, starting in 2000. The survey asked the participants to state their relationship status and level of emotional distress. And the gender differences were the most interesting part.

Often, women documented lower levels of emotional distress early on in their first serious relationships. But men tended to only see an emotional boost when they were married. However, the gender gap completely disappeared in second serious relationships. Both men and woman were emotionally boosted when moving in together or married. Perhaps this is because the more experienced we become with relationships, the more we learn about ourselves and what we want.

So, in an age when people are tending to wait to get married (According to the Pew Research Center, the age when millennials typically got married had gone up to 29 years for men and 26.5 years for women), and opting to live together instead, the choice doesn’t really seem to matter either way. The moral of the story? Do what you think will make you happy. Gosh, I always love when that’s the take away from a psychological study.

(Image via iStock)