Melbourne: Honeymoon period is just a myth and in fact couples are unhappiest in their first year of marriage, according to a new study. Australian researchers have found that the happiest husbands and wives are those who have notched up more than 40 years of wedded bliss. The study by Deakin University`s Australian Centre on Quality of Life, measured the happiness of 2000 people on a scale of 0-100, `The Sydney Morning Herald` reported.
The average score for the Australian population was 75 but couples in their first year of marriage scored a rating of 73.9 compared with people who have been married for more than four decades at 79.8.
"It`s a little unexpected because the perception is that newly-wed couples should be the happiest but in reality that`s not the case," lead author, Melissa Weinberg, said. Weinberg describes the phenomenon as the "wedding hangover" or the crash experienced by couples after the big day. "People imagine their wedding day to be the best day of their lives," she said.
"The engagement period is very exciting and it`s a much-anticipated event. After the big day, all couples are left with is the photos, the video, a pile of bills and the realisation that you have just made that huge life decision for better or worse," said Weinberg. Another study carried out for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, found that couples bounce back from post-nuptial depression, with their happiness score increasing to 78.4 in the second year of marriage. Those who can stay the distance are the happiest of all.
Researchers also found that married people were generally happier than singles, de factos, divorcees or people who were widowed or separated. Those who had been through a separation were the unhappiest with a score of 69.2, the report said. Married women were happier than men, with wedded bliss peaking at between three and five years for women and again at the 40-year mark.