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Posted at: May 13, 2018, 2:34 AM; last updated: May 13, 2018, 2:34 AM (IST)

20, and still going strong

Olivia Petter

If your marriage can make it past the seven-year itch, your best years are yet to come, new research suggests. Those who survive 20 years of married life report feeling happier and more compatible than newlyweds, claims the US study, which was published in the journal Social Networks and the Life Course.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State and Brigham Young Universities found that these long-term couples benefited from spending more time together in shared activities than those who might be relishing in their honeymoon period.

The average age of women included in the study was 35 while for men it was 37.

They found that marital satisfaction gradually declined during the first 20 years of marriage but then started to stabilise again after this period.

The idea that married couples start to resent one another more and more as the years go by is a hackneyed idea perpetuated across popular culture, claims Harry Benson, research director at the Marriage Foundation. “It’s a depressing and misleading stereotype that sitcoms like to portray,” he told The Times, “and until now researchers have generally agreed that marriages start well but thereafter drift into terminal decline. Only it’s a complete myth.”

They say the best things are worth waiting for. — The Independent

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