Though marriage is allegedly on the decline and more people are getting divorced, the institution of marriage still holds a special place in both pop culture and the hearts of humans around the world. From the cheesiest romantic comedy to a romantic story, marriage represents the ultimate expression of love for many.
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What brings people together? Love? Similar interests? Physical attraction? All of these plus many more factors contribute to why people get married. However, as mentioned above, divorce is just as common as marriage, with their issues simply boiling down to not being happy in marriage.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Yale University may gain further insight into what could be the secret to long-term happiness in marriage.
It Is All in the Genes
Published in the journal PLOS ONE and led by Joan Monin, associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health, the study argues that key to happiness among partners may come down to the genes of an individual.
The Yale team studies 178 married couples ranging in ages from 37 to 90 years old. Not only did the researchers survey each participants’ feelings of marital security and satisfaction, but the team also collected a saliva sample for genotyping. Even more so the team was curious about the role of oxytocin.
For the uninitiated, oxytocin plays a major role in social bonding and the connection of humans. After analyzing the samples, the researchers found that when one partner had a genetic variation known as the GG genotype within the oxytocin gene receptor, couples experienced much higher levels of marital satisfaction.
This oxytocin receptor known to researchers as OXTR rs53576 has been associated with personality traits such as emotional stability, empathy, and sociability.
The existence of GG genotype in the couples also contributed to lowering the feeling of anxiety among marriages. In short, those with the gene had a better chance of staying together in the long-term, experiencing a happy marriage.
As mentioned in the study by Monin, "This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.”
"In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner's genetic predispositions."