Study: People With These Personality Traits Have Happier Marriages

We could spend all day rattling off the many factors that researchers have determined play a role in how happy a couple is in their marriage. Studies have shown that all kinds of behaviors—from simple everyday actions (like whether or not you cuddle while sleeping) to how you perceive your partner (idealizing them is bad)—contribute to a person’s level of marital satisfaction.

And now we can now add personality traits to that list: A recent study out of Britain found that people with certain personality traits report higher levels of happiness after marriage. So which traits are they, exactly?

Over an eight-year time frame, researchers recorded the life satisfaction levels and personality traits of over 2,000 people—they used the Big Five scale that divides personalities by agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. Of that test group, 468 participants got married at some point during the study, and their responses were the ones used to determine how personality influences marital satisfaction.

Here are the major takeaways from the study:

  • Women’s life satisfaction levels seemed to increase in the year leading up to marriage and then slowly declined as the married years went on. The same can be said for the male participants, though their satisfaction levels decreased more quickly after marriage.
  • Women who ranked high on the conscientiousness scale or low on the extraversion scale (meaning they’re more introverted) were more likely to maintain high levels of marital satisfaction after the wedding.
  • On the other hand, women who scored low on the conscientiousness scale experienced major falls in life satisfaction after marriage—in fact, their results were similar to the women who remained single throughout the study.
  • For the men, it seems extraverted personalities fare better: While all men experience a boost in life satisfaction right before marriage, extraverted men maintain those feelings after the wedding while introverted men are quick to experience drops in happiness levels.
  • On average, women who got married during the study started out with happier lives than those who never married at all; this information coincides with previous research that states happier people are more likely to get married.

While the researchers couldn’t draw any concrete conclusions as to why certain personality traits lead to happier marriages, they speculated that “the tendency for conscientious individuals to place more value on relationship goals” may be one of the answers.

If you’re interested in learning more, read up on the whole study here.

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