A new study from Florida State University titled, “Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriage Will be Satisfying,” has found that subconsciously, couples know the truth.
Scientists at the University recruited 135 heterosexual couples who had been married for less than six months and followed them for a four year period collecting information about the health of their marriage.
They asked the couples to report their relationship satisfaction and the severity of their relationship problems every six months.
During the testing they were also shown a photo of their spouse on the computer for just one-third of a second followed by a button which was either a positive thought like “terrific” or a negative thought like “terrible.” The individual would then have to quickly select the first button they thought of.
Researchers found that their verbalized feelings about their marriage had little to do with the health and happiness of their marriage and instead , it was their gut-level evaluations shown by the image test of their partner that really predicted the future of their marriage.
“Everyone wants to be in a good marriage,” said head researcher James K. McNulty. “And in the beginning, many people are able to convince themselves of that at a conscious level. But these automatic, gut-level responses are less influenced by what people want to think. You can’t make yourself have a positive response through a lot of wishful thinking.”
“I think the findings suggest that people may want to attend a little bit to their gut,” added McNulty. “If they can sense that their gut is telling them that there is a problem, then they might benefit from exploring that, maybe even with a professional marriage counselor.”