193 From Newlyweds to Divorce

Based on research from Lavner, J. A., & Bradbury, T. N. (2012) by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.

Why do some satisfied newlyweds eventually go on to divorce?

While divorce typically follows a long period of unhappiness that begins early in marriage, some couples that are very satisfied during the first four years of marriage will also go on to divorce. University of California, Los Angeles psychologists conducted a study to identify risk factors early in marriage that differentiate initially happy couples that eventually divorced compared to those who remained married. They evaluated 136 couples that reported high levels of relationship satisfaction in the first 4 years of marriage. They assessed couples on their level of commitment, communication, stress, and personality.

The results revealed that even though their initial commitment was equal, the couples that divorced showed more negative communication, anger and contempt, and more often disagreed, blamed, and invalidated their partners. They also were less supportive of each other. Yes, couples that are very satisfied in the early years of marriage can be vulnerable to divorce.

The key to sustainable marriages? Any two people will disagree. Just because you both are so happy, you can still destroy the relationship with verbal aggression and dismissiveness. Make sure you work together towards your partner getting their needs met too.


Lavner, J. A., & Bradbury, T. N. (2012). Why do even satisfied newlyweds eventually go on to divorce? Journal of Family Psychology, 26(1), 1.

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