Here's the science behind the secret of a good marriage


Love & Money is a series of MarketWatch that examines the effects of our relationship with money on our relationships with loved ones, friends and family.

New study reveals the secret of a long and happy marriage: genetics.

Researchers at Yale University concluded that the happiest and most reassured couples in an experiment had at least one person in the pair with a variation of their gene receptor for oxytocin, called love".

"This study shows that our shared experiences with our partners have not always influenced us in our close relationships," said Joan Monin, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Public Health. "In marriage, people are also influenced by their own genetic predispositions and those of their partner."

Nearly 180 married couples, aged 37 to 90, participated in the study. They completed marriage satisfaction surveys and provided a saliva sample that was used to map their genes.

Oxytocin is linked to attachment and has all sorts of nicknames of well-being, such as "hugging hormone". She is also known as an analgesic.

The study found that researchers had previously examined the variant gene involved – called OXTR rs53576 – for its connection to emotional stability and empathy. Yale's study, however, would be the first to look into her role in a happy marriage.

Companies like Instant Chemistry and GenePartner allow couples to see how their genes fit together. Canada-based Instant Chemistry is priced at $ 149, while GenePartner in Switzerland charges $ 249.

Dr. Ron Gonzalez, co-founder of Instant Chemistry, said the results of the Yale study were consistent with what his team had been studying internally on the genetic makeup and oxytocin. Gonzalez said the Toronto-based company has served thousands of people since its launch in 2013.

It verifies the presence of genes related to oxytocin, as well as genes associated with stress and pleasure experienced by people. The fees also include a psychological profile.

"It's a great way to start a conversation to learn more about you and your partner," he said.

Spending money on genetic profiles could be an easy expense, at least in relation to the costs of divorce. Amicable divorces where separating couples handle paperwork can hover around three digits, but if lawyers get involved and problems become complex and drag on, these costs can increase. considerably.

There is something to say about the power of genetic constitution. But the recipe for long-term romance contains many ingredients, such as mixtures of personalities, the bond that unites families, and the way couples choose to spend their free time.

And of course, there is also the role of money in a relationship.

Indeed, a Merrill Lynch study looked at what people wanted most from a partner. Fifty-six percent of participants said they preferred a partner who could provide financial security, compared to 44% who said they were looking for someone who would send them "head over heels".

Gonzalez himself recognizes that genes are only part of the equation and that their influence is not yet known. "Your predisposition to your genes does not predetermine what you do," he said – but it could help people be more aware of their inclinations.

A separate study examined the same problem of genetic constitution, oxytocin, and couple chemistry.

This research revealed that less happy husbands, who perceived their spouse as less supportive, had a particular make-up for their oxytocin-related gene.

Even there, the principal investigator warned against an over-reading of the genetic makeup and a strong conjugal bond. The understanding of chromosome and couple chemistry is still in its infancy, said Richard Mattson, a professor of psychology at Binghamton University at State University in New York.

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