Your mom probably always told you to follow your heart—but science just backed her up on the even more important piece of advice she probably spooned out at the same time: trust your gut.
A new study published in Science reports that no matter what you say about your significant other or about what you predict marriage with them will be like, it’s what you feel in your gut that really means something.
Researchers on the study started out by asking 135 newlywed couples questions about their spouses, and then kept track both of their conscious, verbal answers—and their gut reactions to the questions being posed, which were measured with a special computer device.
They then followed the couples for four years, and by the end of that time, researchers found that while the couple’s verbal answers didn’t have much to do with how they felt now, their gut-level feelings at the time of the testing were spot on when it came to how happy they ended up being in their marriage. So basically, even if they gushed and gushed about their person, if their gut was listening in and saying Eh, really? I’m not so sure—the gut ended up being right.
As lead author of the study James McNulty says:
“Although they may be largely unwilling or unable to verbalize them, people’s automatic evaluations of their partners predict one of the most important outcomes of their lives—the trajectory of their marital satisfaction.”
So thanks, science—but you already felt all this in your gut, didn’t you?