Fifth of marriages have IMPROVED during lockdown

Fifth of marriages have IMPROVED during lockdown – as number of couples filing for divorce plummets

  • One in five marriage have strengthened during the coronavirus pandemic
  • The study by the Marriage Foundation analysed the data from 2,559 parents  
  • Found 20 per cent of married parents felt their relationship had strengthened

One in five of marriages in the UK have benefited from the national lockdown, research has revealed.

A study carried out by the Marriage Foundation found 20 per cent of married parents felt their relationship had strengthened while only nine per cent said theirs had worsened during the pandemic.

During their research, the national charity analysed data from 2,559 parents who had completed a questionnaire by the University of Essex for the UK Household Longitudinal Survey Coronavirus Study.

They found twice as many marriages had improved during the coronavirus crisis while the proportion of parents considering divorce fell by two thirds from those seen before the pandemic in 2017- 2019. 

Fifth of marriages in the UK have benefited from the national lockdown, a study carried out by the Marriage Foundation has found. (Stock image)

Harry Benson, the Marriage Foundation’s Research Director and one of the report’s authors said: ‘Our study debunks claims that lockdown is leading to a divorce boom. 

‘The data strongly suggests the opposite – spending more time with your husband or wife has been beneficial for large numbers of the UK’s 12.8 million married couples. 

‘These findings for UK marriages are further strengthened when set alongside a similar recent analysis of US marriages. 

‘Analysis of a national survey last week found half of married adults said their appreciation of their partner had increased and commitment had deepened. 

‘Moreover, data from four of the five states that publish the actual number of divorces in real-time have shown fewer divorces during lockdown.’     

Researchers also found that 0.7 per cent of married fathers and 2.2 per cent of mothers were considering divorce – reflecting a decrease by two thirds compared to pre-Covid times. 

However research also showed lockdown has ’caused friction in some marriages’, with more married fathers saying they were ‘fairly’ or ‘extremely unhappy’.

Meanwhile 22 per cent of cohabiting mothers said their relationship had worsened during the pandemic compared to 7 per cent of married mothers.  

Mr Benson continued: ‘Although stress levels in parental relationships have risen with so much uncertainty about jobs, money, and being unable to go out or socialise, lockdown appears to have affirmed the commitment of married parents.

The study, which analysed data from 2,559 parents, found 20 per cent of married parents felt their relationship had strengthened while only nine per cent said theirs had worsened. (Stock image)

‘In short many seem to have found spending more time with the partner has been a positive experience.’ 

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation said: ‘Covid has spawned a plethora of inaccurate predictions and a divorce explosion was just one such. 

‘In fact, as with so many other areas of life under covid, the law of unintended consequences has ruled the day. 

‘On the whole marriages have blossomed through lockdown, no doubt because of the extra TLC spouses have been able to invest in their relationships freed from the terrible pressures generated by having to spend a lot of the working week at, or travelling to and from work. 

‘This is all of a piece with earlier Marriage Foundation research which showed clearly that couples who make extra investment in their marriages – eg via occasional date nights – benefit from a more enduring and satisfying relationship. 

‘Unexpectedly this new finding has not impacted unmarried couples in the same way. 

‘When these relationships have been stress-tested by the covid lockdown the mothers especially have suffered. 

‘No doubt the absence of formal commitment has generated insecurity and ambiguity at a time when the need for complete unambiguous unity was essential.’ 

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