The Honeymoon is Over: Maintaining a Strong Marriage After the First-Year

by Teresa Wirtjers
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

Marital satisfaction is typically high in newlywed couples but studies have shown that as the relationship progresses, marital satisfaction tends to decline (Lavner & Bradbury, 2010; Halford, Lizzio, Wilson, Occhipinti, 2007). The purpose of this study is to determine how newlywed couples can maintain marital quality and satisfaction after the first-year of marriage. Specifically, this study will analyze the “honeymoon-is-over” effect (Kurdek, 1998), and the “honeymoon-then-blandness” pattern (Aron, Norman, Aron, & Lewandowski, 2002). The study will examine what constitutes a “satisfied” marital dyad, communication differences between sexes, and how recently-wed couples adapt to the challenges and changes that occur within the first-year of marriage. Using Baxter and Montgomery’s Relational Dialectics Theory, Thibault and Kelley’s Social Exchange Theory, and Tannen’s Genderlect Theory, this study will examine how communication plays an integral role in the relational maintenance and satisfaction among spouses beyond the first-year of marriage.