A new research study was published recently that discusses how marriage transforms couples in their relationships. Very interesting. Here are a few conclusions from that study:
- Since newlyweds have to find ways to get along on a daily basis, it’s perhaps not surprising that they experience changes in personality as they adapt to partnered life.
- Wives tended to show decreases in openness to experience, perhaps reflecting their acceptance of the routines of marriage.
- Husbands increased significantly in conscientiousness, while wives tended to stay about the same. Since women tend to be higher in baseline conscientiousness than men, the increase for men probably reflects their grasping the importance of being more dependable and responsible as a spouse.
- Husbands also became more introverted over the first year and a half of marriage. Other research has shown that couples tend to shrink their social networks after they wed, so this decline in extraversion reflects that trend.
- Husbands showed a slight increase in emotional stability, but it was not statistically significant. Wives, however, showed a much greater increase. In general, women tend to report higher levels of neuroticism (emotional instability) than men, so it appears that the commitment of marriage had a positive effect on the wives’ emotional stability.
- As husbands and wives negotiate life together, the best predictor of whether their marriage will thrive is the personalities of the two individuals as they enter the relationship. Emotionally stable partners make for emotionally satisfying marriages; for others, the journey is much more likely to be bumpy.