Does Marriage Longevity Correlate with Happiness?
How long people stay together isn’t necessarily an indicator of their relationship’s health or happiness.
Of course, lots of people have been married long, happily, and healthily. But it is also true that not everyone married for a long time has had a healthy marriage.
As Christians and society in general, we should aim for health, not modeling “longevity at any cost.”
And we need to admit to ourselves that some people have white-knuckled their way through 20, 30, 40, 50 years without being particularly happy or healthy and thus stop holding the length of time people stay together as the ultimate mark of a good marriage.
Of course, it’s up to individuals to decide their baseline – what they are willing to put up with and for how long. So if someone stays married to an unhealthy person for fifty years, that’s okay in the sense it is their individual choice to do that.
But the idea of parading and celebrating how long people have been married without considering the health of that marriage is harmful in itself.
Many unmarried people don’t want to emulate some long-term relationships (that are being held up as the ideal) because they see something needs to be added. They want more than length: they are hoping for health and happiness too.
And I think it’s essential for us all to recognize that and look into the quality of relationships.
Does Marriage Longevity Correlate with Happiness
And because I know someone will be thinking along these lines, no, I’m not saying we should NEVER celebrate how long people have been married or only look up to “perfect couples.” Warrior couples – individuals who’ve fought long and hard to be healthy and safe – have a lot to teach us.
All I’m saying is, we need to stop this blind devotion to how long a couple has been together and using that as the measuring stick. Instead, we must stop modeling “stay together at whatever cost” and model health.
Because honestly, some of the people we’re trying to encourage (unmarried or other couples) can see right through the smokescreen.
As the body of Christ/church, we should aim for health, not modeling “longevity at any cost.”
What do you think? Do we model “marriage longevity correlate with happiness” in Christian circles? How can we model a healthier approach? Let’s chat in the comments!
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Thank you for exposing this important nuance! My own marriage of 20 years has been a source of heartache and misery, but my grandparents’ marriage of 50+ years is a beautiful testament of two people growing in Christ. My parents had a very unhealthy relationship, which my mother escaped at the untimely death of my father. Our church knew this was a bad marriage, but my mother prided herself in keeping her vows to God and viewing herself as example of strength. The church fed her unfortunate perspective rather than challenging it, or my father’s behavior. Celebrating marriage should be based on the fruit of that relationship.