Marriage can be complex and challenging, especially once major events like a health crisis, change in jobs, and parenting come in. But how do they exactly affect marital relationships? One study decides to find out.
A Swiss study participated by more than 700 heterosexual couples who were then followed for more than a decade revealed that while all these life changes have an impact on a couple's relationship, their degree can significantly vary.
The study led by Manuela Schicka of University of Geneva was part of her dissertation, which she presented on Sept 30. She used the data available in a survey conducted by Prof Eric Widmer in the same university since 1998.
The survey was conducted in three phases: 1998, 2004, and 2011. However, since only the women were interviewed in 2004, the other two periods were considered. Couples who have divorced or separated were not part of the analysis, although they were included in the survey.
Based on the results, the quality of fusion between couples can vary in each of their life's stages. They tend to grow closer during retirement, a time when they experience the empty-nest syndrome. Further, Schicka also observed that couples who fared well with fusion tend to be less affected by major events in their lives. However, parenting and work-related issues are two of the biggest causes of tension in a relationship.
Health, particularly illness, on the other hand, has a significantly less effect on the quality of the relationship. The study suggests that it could be because health is often unexpected, so couples cannot immediately blame it on personal responsibility.
The study went on to cite the importance of being active and belonging to the labor market that a failure in this aspect can cause a high level of disappointment. Women, for example, often leave their work in order to raise children, which can become frustrating for those who have been previously active in their jobs.