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Men and women both report greater marital satisfaction with younger spouses, but that satisfaction fades over time in marriages with a ificant age gap between the partners, new CU Boulder research finds. The study was recently published online in the Journal of Population Economics.

Listen to the podcast. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings show that men reported greater marital satisfaction when paired with a younger spouse, especially in the early years of marriage. But the reverse appears to be true as well.

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That initial satisfaction erodes rapidly, however, after 6 to 10 years of marriage for the couples with a big age gap between the partners. One mechanism for this decline could be how the age difference between spouses affects the couple's ability to respond to negative economic shocks, such as a job loss, McKinnish said.

A possible explanation for this, McKinnish said, is that similarly-aged couples are more in sync on life decisions that affect both partners having children; general spending habits and thus may be better equipped to adjust to a negative financial shock. By contrast, an unexpected financial shakeup could expose underlying tensions and mismatches in couples with a larger age gap.

The nationally representative sample was initially comprised of 7, households containing 19, individuals and participants are re-surveyed every year with questions that measure various aspects of life satisfaction.

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Search Enter the terms you wish to search for. Spousal age gap affects marriage satisfaction over time.

Published: Aug. Listen to the podcast Economist Terra McKinnish discusses how marriage age gaps affect satisfaction. Related Articles. CU Boulder researchers share their expertise, examining four areas in which the U. .

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