8 Secrets to Long-Term Monogamy: The Science of Happy Marriages

A decline in satisfaction at the beginning is normal.

It is normal and statistically expected to experience a decline in marital satisfaction during the first years of marriage. There are many reasons why a decline in marital satisfaction in the first few years is normal. Google “normal rebound,” “emotional erosion,” and “motivational erosion.” An early-on decline in satisfaction is not necessarily an indication that the relationship is unhealthy or a reason to throw in the towel.

Certain qualities predict successful monogamy.

Researchers questioned couples to attempt to pinpoint the common aspects of people in marriages that last 15 years or more. Here are the characteristics of long-term couples as discovered in two different studies:

Ability to change and adapt to change

Ability to surrender to things that will not change (i.e., accepting aspects of your partner as-is)

Assumption of permanence (i.e., the marriage will last a lifetime)


Balance of  power/Mutuality of decision-making

Enjoyment of each other’s company

Cherished, shared history

Relational values of trust, respect, understanding, and equality

Sexual and psychological intimacy

Certain communication patterns predict relationship demise.

In his “Love Lab”, researcher John Gottman and his team observed over 3,000 couples to pinpoint behaviors that predicted divorce and breakup with 95% accuracy. See this article for more details about the not-so-obvious signs that a relationship is in trouble.

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