When individuals meet, fall in love and decide to marry; they vow to do so “till death do us part.” However, in reality, marriage is no guarantee that a relationship will in fact endure until a spouse passes away.

There are numerous factors that may contribute to a couple’s divorce. Infidelity, substance abuse and simply growing apart are just a few factors the may prove to be detrimental to a marriage. A recently released Brigham Young University study provides more insight into how the quality of a marriage changes over time and how these changes may contribute to divorce.

For the study, more than 2,600 women who were born between the years 1957 and 1964 were interviewed over a span of 35 years. Based on the results of these interviews, researchers concluded that “in most marriages, happiness and communication between partners decline from the start.” Why does this happen? Based on the study’s comprehensive data, researchers determined that in many marriages duties associated with child care and household chores are a major source of conflict.

Conflict between married spouses tends to peak between the 10 to 15 year marriage mark. For approximately one-third of study participants, overall conflict and levels of unhappiness improved after 30 years of marriage. This is likely due in part to the fact that most children are grown and out of the home by this time.

Thirty years is an awfully long time to stay in an unhappy relationship hoping that things will improve. Being able to effectively communicate with a spouse and laugh together are crucial components to a happy marriage.

Maryland spouses who are struggling to connect with and relate to a spouse may want to consider a legal separation. An attorney who handles divorce matters can answer questions and assist in ensuring spouses meet necessary requirements should they subsequently decide to divorce.

Source: The Telegraph, “Marilyn Monroe’s mistake: it’s a 10 year itch,” Roger Dobson, Dec. 7, 2014