Secrets of happy long-lasting marriage

New study tried to determine the secret of a happy, long-lasting marriage and revealed that expectations need to be lowered.

The researchers compared couples with students who set themselves overly ambitious targets, and are subsequently disappointed. Married couples were advised to be more realistic about their relationship from the start.

The majority of readers, 61 per cent, agreed that people expect too much from marriage.

Some readers suggested that expectations should be more realistic, accepting that a spouse is not there to fulfil their partner's every need, reports

According to the research involved 82 couples and started a few months after marriage. For the following four years, they were assessed on their satisfaction with the marriage and rated on their joint problem-solving skills.

Couples who had high expectations for happiness but poor relationship skills showed steep declines in marital satisfaction. Those with low expectations and low skills didn't show equivalent declines.

However, the opposite was true of couples with good relationship skills. Their marital satisfaction was higher if they already had high expectations.

Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers led by James McNulty, professor of psychology at Ohio University, said: "In contrast to the idea that expectations in the early years of marriage exert main effects on satisfaction, the current findings suggest that the effects of expectations interact with the skills partners bring to their relationships."

Previous research found that people tend to select like-minded partners who they believe will be able to maintain a stable relationship.

The finding contradicts the old adage that opposites attract.

Instead, the US researchers said people looking for long-term relationships should select partners who were similar to themselves, rather than seeking out the highest quality partner available, informs

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Author`s name: Editorial Team