Can genes predict a happy marriage?

Can genes predict a happy marriage?

A recent study from the University of California – Berkeley and Northwestern University says that your genes may actually be able to tell you how your marriage will turn out. Will it be happily ever after or a painstaking journey?

Researchers believe that a gene affecting serotonin levels, commonly known as a feelings transmitter, may be able to give clues into emotions in a relationship and marital happiness.

The study, published in the journal Emotion, followed 156 middle-aged, married couples, looking at their interactions and emotions toward each other over a period of time.

“With these new genetic findings, we now understand much more about what determines just how important emotions are for different people,” said lead author, Robert W. Levenson, in a statement.

Researchers found a connection between a gene variant in a human’s DNA and the emotion of relationship satisfaction. When looking at this gene variant, researchers found that the gene was structured differently in those who have unhappy, negative emotions towards their relationship, but also that people who have happy emotions have a good regard for to their marriage. It all depends on the person’s emotional outlook on a relationship, they can either thrive or not.

“We are always trying to understand the recipe for a good relationship, and emotion keeps coming up as an important ingredient,” said Levenson.

The researchers believe that these findings show that the variance in gene can help determine how a person will manage in a relationship, either they will flourish in a good one or will agonize in a bad one.

Researchers have followed participants since 1989, checking in on their marriages every five years. They recorded conversations, feelings and interactions, then used their DNA samples to compare them to their levels of marital satisfaction.

“One explanation for this latter finding is that in late life – just as in early childhood – we are maximally susceptible to the influences of our genes,” said Levenson.

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Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.