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Marital Satisfaction Affected by Age Difference

A recent study has found a link between marital satisfaction and the age difference between spouses.
 
Associate Professor Wang-Sheng Lee, an economist at the Deakin Business School, worked with University of Colorado’s Professor Terra McKinnish to examine the impact marital age gaps have on marriage satisfaction over time.
 
The researchers found that both men and women experienced greater initial satisfaction with their marriage when they had younger spouses.
 
They also found that the reverse was true, with men less satisfied with older wives and women less satisfied with older husbands.
 
However, the satisfaction associated with having a younger spouse was found not to last.
 
“Satisfaction eroded relatively quickly for people in couples with an age gap,” commented Associate Professor Lee said. “The initial higher levels of satisfaction experienced by husbands married to younger wives and wives married to younger husbands is expected to be erased within 6–10 years of marriage.”
 
“One reason for this decline is that differently aged couples might be less able to respond to negative economic shocks, such as job loss for the primary breadwinner or requiring funds for an emergency,” he explained. “In other words, similarly-aged couples are likely to be more resilient to shocks.”
 
“The data also suggests that couples with a larger age gap are less likely to have both partners working and this could make them financially more vulnerable,” he added.
 

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