The results of the study conducted by Waite et al. (2002) are quite positive with reference to people who may be seriously considering divorce, while at the same time worried about the negative consequences of divorce. According to the results, people who are divorced are not necessarily happy after their divorce. Moreover, people who are unhappy in their marriages may report a significant improvement in their perceived levels of happiness five years later. As a matter of fact, those who are unhappiest in their marriages may report the most significant improvement in their general level of happiness with marriage five years later.
While remaining in an unhappy marriage may seem to be a painful practice, the research of Waite et al. indicates that it is possible for unhappily married people to work through their issues, namely, the reduction of overall unhappiness and improvement in overall marital happiness. Marriages may persist when partners believe that it is necessary to remain committed to the institution of marriage, in spite of unhappiness. Additionally, time is said to heal all wounds, and therefore, marriages may persist when spouses outlast their marital problems that had led to an overall state of unhappiness in marriage previously.
Others have experienced that it is possible to make a marriage persist by dealing with the problems at hand. Such couples may visit marriage counselors, or arrange for more dinner dates together. Similarly, persons who work on improving their individual levels of happiness by engaging in more activities of interest, for example, or by seeing more friends, may definitely help themselves out in the area of marriage by increasing their overall satisfaction with life itself, which includes marriage for them.
The results of the study suggest that there does not have to be a relationship between unhappy marriages and general unhappiness. People may stay unhappy even when they have divorced their spouses with whom they were unhappily married. On the other hand, those who work to increase their personal happiness may entirely change the structure of their unhappy marriages by achieving happiness for themselves.
By engaging in more activities of interest, for example, a husband or a wife may increase his or her personal level of happiness. An increase in a spouse’s personal happiness would lead him or her also to perceive his or her marriage with a fresh, and hopefully, a positive perspective. Even if this individual’s marriage is truly beset by problems, an increase in personal happiness could give a fresh, new life to the unhappy marriage. Hence, it is perhaps most important for people to work on their own personal happiness before blaming the external world for their general unhappiness.
Unhappy marriages can last and even turn into happy marriages when people are basically committed to the institution of marriage; practice patience; and work out their relational problems besides trying to find genuine happiness at a personal level. Conversely, those who are unhappily married and do not work to increase their own happiness, nor work to improve their relationships, may stay unhappy even after a divorce. Thus, working to improve relationships is also of the essence.
After all, an unhappily married person who had sought divorce might have been able to increase his or her personal happiness by having good, happy relationships with others after the divorce. INVESTIGATION INTO DIVORCE
1. Waite, L. J. , Browning, D. , Doherty, W. J. , Gallagher, M. , Luo, Y. , & Stanley, S. M. (2002, July 11). “Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages. ” USA Today.