One in five married couples say their relationship has been strengthened by lockdown

Lauren Clark
·2 min read
Just ten per cent of participants believed their relationship had worsened during the pandemic. (Getty Images)
Just 10% of participants believed their relationship had worsened during the pandemic. (Getty Images)

While the second lockdown in England is unlikely to have brought joy to many people, it could be good news for marriages.

There had been suggestions that being cooped up with other halves for weeks on end would lead to a spike in divorces, but a study has found that many couples have experienced a boost to their relationship during the pandemic.

Research conducted by the Marriage Foundation shows that twice as many saw their union improve as did those that saw it worsen.

Researchers discovered that one in five married couples said their relationship got better – compared to 10% who admitted it had worsened.

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Using responses submitted by 2,559 parents who completed the UK Household Longitudinal Survey Coronavirus Study by Essex University, they also found that parents considering divorce in June had dropped to below pre-lockdown levels.

Indeed, of those surveyed, just 0.7% of fathers and 2.2% of mothers said they were considering calling it quits.

It is thought that the improvement in most unions may be down to couples encouraged to spend more quality time together.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, 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.

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“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.”

While it’s good news for married couples, the lockdown strain has been felt in other ways.

Last month, it was revealed that a tenth of Britons have not had sex since March.

According to research by wellness brand CBII, loss of libido has been down, in a large part, to anxiety.

Read more: Why your relationship has been changed by lockdown

Other factors that are believed to have reduced intercourse during the pandemic include loss of sleep and also TV.

In fact, more than half of participants – at 63% – found that watching the small screen was a more enticing form of late-night entertainment.

Even among those still having intercourse, the frequency was a lot less than before COVID-19 relegated people to their homes for months on end.

One in four respondents in this group, who were in a committed relationship or married, said they were only in the mood to have sex a couple of times a month at most.