LIVING

Your Marriage Is More Likely To Be Satisfying If You Marry Someone Your Age

Seems like May-December romances aren't all they're cracked up to be.

08/08/2017 11:20 EDT | Updated 08/08/2017 11:30 EDT
Tetra Images - Rob Lewine

When it comes to settling down, most people look for the following qualities in a long-term partner: shared values, honesty, sense of humour, trustworthiness, and passion.

But what about age?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Population Economics, your spouse's age will most likely determine the length of your marriage, as well as how much satisfaction you derive from it.

The research, which looked at the data of more than 17,000 Australians, found that both men and women tended to be more satisfied with a younger spouse and more dissatisfied with an older spouse.

"We find that men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied, and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied," noted the study's co-author, Professor Terra McKinnish.

"Women are also particularly dissatisfied when they're married to older husbands and particularly satisfied if they're married to younger husbands."

Both men and women tended to be more satisfied with a younger spouse and more dissatisfied with an older spouse.

However, the research found that this high level of satisfaction was short-lived.

"The higher levels of satisfaction were erased after about six to 10 years, because it seemed they were more financially vulnerable," study co-author Wang-Sheng Lee noted, adding that the data suggested that couples with a large age gap were more likely to be living on a single income.

"This also could contribute to them being more financially vulnerable if something bad happens," Lee explained.

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The research also led the study authors to hypothesize that differently aged couples are less resilient to negative shocks compared to couples who are similarly aged.

One reason why couples who are of similar age have longer-term marital satisfaction are because they have more shared experiences.

"We believe that couples who are of a similar age are more likely to talk about plans for the future, because they are at similar phases of their careers and their lives," Lee noted.

We believe that couples who are of a similar age are more likely to talk about plans for the future, because they are at similar phases of their careers and their lives.

According to Statistics Canada, more heterosexual Canadians are actually, on average, very close in age when they get married.

"The difference in the average age at first marriage between men and women for those who married in 2008 was 1.4 years," said Statistics Canada media relations official, Edelweiss D'Andrea.

StatsCan also noted that, "Older Canadian couples are closer in age to each other than they were three decades ago."

"Of the 1.7 million senior couples in 2011, 49 per cent had an age difference of three years or less, compared with 41 per cent in 1981," wrote Statistics Canada analysts Ann Milan, Irene Wong and Mireille Vezina.

More heterosexual Canadians are actually, on average, very close in age when they get married.

But even though it seems like May-December romances are on the decline (at least in Canada), it's still a bit taboo.

More recently, the trailer for the Jennifer Lawrence-led film "Mother!" drew criticism for the 21-year- age gap between the actress and actor Javier Bardem, who plays her husband in the film.

So it seems that if you want a happy, long-lasting marriage, marrying someone close to your own age is the way to go.