People married for less than a year are less satisfied with life than people in any other year of marriage, according to the health fund Australian Unity’s recent Wellbeing Index. The findings suggest the financial stress of paying off a wedding and buying a home are to be blamed for the discontent. People married for less than a year have an average Personal Wellbeing Index score of 73.9, at the bottom end of the normal range of between 73.8 and 76.7. However, satisfaction with life bounces back in the second year of marriage and the happiest married people of the lot are those that have stuck together for more than 40 years or more (79.8).
By their second year of marriage, the Personal Wellbeing Index score for married people rises to 78.4 and stays at the top end or above the normal range every year after that. People who have stuck together for more than 40 years or more are the happiest (79.8). The lowest wellbeing is reported by separated people whose wellbeing score is just 69.2 but those who separate and remarry recover their sense of wellbeing. The survey found the lower wellbeing in the first year of marriage was linked to lower levels of satisfaction with a standard of living. Though recently married people would have newly acquired access to their partner‘s income, they also bear the costs of a wedding and potentially a new house, which could drain monetary resources, the survey says.
The average cost of a wedding in Australia ranges from $36,200, according to IBISWorld, to as high as $48,296 according to a survey in Bride to Be magazine. The report’s lead author Deakin University’s Dr Melissa Weinberg says, “It boils down to what I call a wedding hangover, couples building up to the wedding day as the best day of their life, and then finding reality biting as they tote up their wedding bills and get back to work after the honeymoon.” The message for newly married couples is to persevere through that first frantic year, and reap the rewards later.”