The latest attempt to unlock the formula for a happy marriage is the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project report on the relationships of people between the ages of 18 and 34. One of the keys to wedded bliss? Making thoughtful, intentional decisions about major life transitions!
Researchers looked at more than 1,000 individuals who were in relationships in 2007 and 2008. Over the following five years, 418 got married, and reports about their pre-marital relationships and decisions were used to determine the impact they had on the quality of each marriage.
The findings suggest that thoughtful decisionmaking, specifically about major life changes like living together or having kids, often results in a happier marriage overall.
While open communication and thoughtfulness may seem like obvious hallmarks of any good relationship, the report's authors note that many couples "slide" into decisions together. For example, two people may decide to shack up because one's lease is up, rather than having an open and honest conversation about living together.
The reports authors also found that past relationships had a negative effect overall: