If You Have This in Your Blood, Your Marriage Is Better Off, Study Says
New research has found a surprising genetic link to marriage satisfaction.
Successful couples are often asked about what makes their relationship work so well. There are many reasons a marriage endures, from compatibility to putting in the effort. But one recent study has found that there actually could be something in your blood that plays a significant role in your relationships. Keep reading to find out what hidden trait could lead you to a successful marriage, and for signs of trouble to watch out for, If Your Partner Is Asking You This One Question, They Could Be Cheating.
A DNA variation has been linked with traits that are beneficial to marriages.
A Feb. 18 study out of the University of Arkansas found that a variation in DNA could be linked to "traits that are beneficial to bonding and relationship satisfaction in the first years of a marriage," according to a statement. The research suggests that a variation called "CC" in the gene CD38 is associated with higher levels of gratitude, satisfaction, forgiveness, and especially trust, all of which are helpful in forming a solid foundation for a successful marriage.
"CC individuals felt more grateful for their partner, reported higher trust in their partner, were more forgiving of their partner, and were more satisfied with their marriages than were AC/AA individuals," according the study. And for marriage advice anyone can benefit from, check out The 50 Best Marriage Tips From Couples Who've Been Married for 50 Years.
The benefits lasted for at least the first three years of marriage.
To get this data, researchers collected the DNA of 142 newlyweds—71 couples—three months after they were married. These couples completed a survey on that date and then every four months for three years. After three years, the results showed that those with the CC variation reported higher levels of traits that correspond with marriage satisfaction. The researchers found that the benefits lasted for at least the first three years of marriage, but say they may extend beyond those first few years. And for a sign of incompatibility, If You Notice Your Partner Doing This, They're Lying to You, Studies Say.
Researchers say you shouldn't lose hope if you don't have this DNA variation.
Although the research does point to a potential DNA link to marriage satisfaction, you shouldn't lose hope if you don't have this genetic predisposition. The study's lead author and University of Arkansas psychology professor Anastasia Makhanova, PhD, told the New York Post that this doesn't mean people without the CD38 CC variation will not have successful relationships. "It's not that people who don't have the CC genotype are doomed to have problems. It's just that they're more likely to have issues in some of these domains, and so those people might have to work a little bit more in those domains," she explained. And for more relationship content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Maintaining marital satisfaction over time is challenging.
Makhanova said in the statement that marriage satisfaction tends to start high and then drop. The study set out to see if there was an underlying genetic reason why people have a harder time maintaining relationship satisfaction in the newlywed period, she explained.
"After the wedding, most people hope to remain satisfied in their marriage forever," Makhanova told the New York Post. "But maintaining a high level of satisfaction in a relationship for an extended amount of time is difficult." Ultimately, the researchers identified the CC variation as one possible factor in keeping that satisfaction going. And for more on maintaining a long-lasting marriage, Doing This After Watching TV Slashes Your Risk of Divorce, Study Says.