Marriage Isn’t Going to Make You Happier, Science Reports

People who are married are not happier than those who are single, reports Ed Diener, professor at the University of Illinois. Despite a popular idea that marriage will increase personal happiness, according to Diener, this isn’t always the case, as people eventually return to their “happy set point” (aka happiness baseline).

Marriage Isn't Going to Make You Happier, Science Reports

As a result, marriage does not always improve one’s life. In fact, most people are no happier after marriage than they were before. This result was obtained after a study that looked at how people react to both happy and negative life situations and examined life satisfaction levels of over 24,000 adults in Germany. The findings clearly show that, contrary to popular belief, marriage does not lead to increased happiness due to the previously mentioned “happy set point.”

“It is true that some people are more content than others. And while there are things you can do to improve your happiness, Diener points out that “being married isn’t a cure for changing your set point.”

The term “hedonic leveling” was coined by the study’s authors to describe the process of returning to one’s set point, which has a balancing effect on people’s overall happiness levels. “When you are overjoyed, there are forces that bring you back to a more regular level,” Diener explains. “People are generally satisfied, although not always ecstatic.”

According to the study’s findings, respondents’ happiness levels increased before and after marriage, but the gain was tiny – around one-tenth of a point on an 11-point scale – and was followed by a return to previous levels of happiness.

When something bad happens, people react adversely, but they heal with time, according to Diener. According to this study, even widows and widowers recovered to the level of contentment they had before their spouse died after about five years.

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the visionary founder, senior happiness coach, and Chief Happiness Officer of Optimal Happiness. He has written the revolutionary Optimal Happiness: The Fastest and Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a must-read book about achieving our happiest potential. After researching this field for over eight years, Roman is confident that anyone can become happy and invites us to undertake this transformation. Are you ready to start living the life you always meant to live?

Leave a Reply


No more excuses. Here is your ultimate formula for happiness today and forever. Discover it today in our book: Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way To Reach Your Happiest Potential ( 

This book presents the quickest and surest way to go from whatever state of happiness or unhappiness you have today to your Optimal Happiness. Stop suffering and start living. Stop unnecessary negative emotions and reach your potential. Happiness guaranteed! 

Recent Posts

Follow on Facebook

Or Follow Us On

    You might also like