By using a specialized computer test, researchers identified the key indicator of marital success.
The study, published in the journal Science, showed that newlyweds’ gut reaction about their relationship can accurately predict their probability of marital happiness in the future.
Gut reaction toward spouse
Study author and psychologist James McNulty used implicit measures to determine a person’s attitude about something.
He measured 135 newlyweds’ gut-level feelings toward their partners using a specialized test.
McNulty and his colleagues also measured the participants’ conscious feelings toward their spouses by asking them several questions.
After following the participants for four years, the researchers found that the feelings initially verbalized had little to no effect on the couples’ marital satisfaction, despite how in love they insisted they were.
McNulty explains in his research that the subconscious gut-level reactions played a major role. Couples who had positive gut feelings based on the test were much happier in their marriage over time, compared to couples who had negative ones.