If you and your spouse are alike, it’s because you married a like-minded person, study shows.
Despite what most people believe, married couples don’t become more alike over time, according to researchers at Michigan State University.
Instead, people tend to choose spouses who have similar personalities and character traits, the study suggested.
“Existing research shows that spouses are more similar than random people,” lead author Mikhila Humbad said in a statement. “This could reflect spouses’ influence on each other over time, or this could be what attracted them to each other in the first place. Our goal in conducting this study was to help resolve this debate.”
She and her team of researchers studied data on 1,296 married couples. The records were supplied by the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research.
Aiming to find out whether husbands and wives more closely resembled each other as their relationship evolved, the authors looked at numerous personality traits and concluded that generally, couples didn’t become more similar the longer they were married.
The only exception they found was in aggressive behavior, they said.
“It makes sense if you think about it,” said Humbad, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Michigan State. “If one person is violent, the other person may respond in a similar fashion and thus become more aggressive over time.”
She theorized that the similarities in married couples are more a facet of spousal selection than “gradual convergence.”
The findings, published in current issue of Personality and Individual Differences, may be significant for future generations, according to the researchers.
Marrying someone who’s similar to you may increase the likelihood that you’ll pass those traits on to your children.