This Couple Wrote 10 Marriage Vows Based On Scientific Research


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We very much enjoy dabbling in the science of marriage studies around here, and mostly for two different reasons: Either they are very silly and make for an excellent laugh (see Women Adore Their Pets, Could Take or Leave Their Husbands and Half of Women Have a Backup Dude in Mind If Their Current Husband Doesn’t Work Out)—or, the studies’ conclusions actually make a lot of sense, and it seems like a very doable thing to apply their findings to real-life marriage (see Splitting Household Chores Leads to Better Married Sex and That Whole ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ Thing Is True).

Well this week in the New York Times, we read about a couple who embraced the latter, and wrote 10 wedding vows each based on a different scientific study about marriage and relationships.

The bride in question, Samantha Joel, is a psychology graduate student who studies romantic relationships, and she went through the litany of research out there and chose the conclusions she and her husband thought had the best real-life applications, and that represented the promises they wanted to make to each other for their marriage.

“I really believe that research can inform our personal decisions better than anecdotes, better than advice from individuals, better than intuition,” said Ms. Joel […]

The scientific method is “the best way to answer questions,” she added. “We accept this in pretty much every domain of life — with relationships, I think, though, people get a little bit anxious that love is being reduced.” But “if you want real answers that are actually helpful, you need to get specific and you need to get objective.”

Her 10 promises — which she and her husband read aloud at their wedding — include a pledge “to support and protect your freedom; because although our lives are intertwined, your choices are still yours alone.” This one is based on research showing that a lack of autonomy in relationships can make people less happy. She and her husband also promised each other to “show you, every day, that I know exactly how lucky I am to have you in my life,” inspired by a study showing that people who feel more appreciated by their partners are more appreciative in return, and that they are less likely to break up.

You can read all 10 of these scientifically based vows—which she and her husband now have tacked to their fridge, Grey’s Anatomy Post-It-style—here, and, who knows, maybe you’ll find inspiration for your own in their thoughtfully laid out declarations.

RELATED: 7 Tips for a Happy Marriage, All Backed by Science 

RELATED: How to Have the Perfect Marriage, According to the Numbers 

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