Can Personal Traits Predict Marriage?

marriageWomen have often wondered whether a man was marriage material. A new study shows how personal traits, such as attractiveness, personality and grooming can help predict whether someone is marriage material or not.

The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Researchers created a personal traits index based on scores from interviews with young adults, ages 24 to 34. The studied started with data from more than 13,000 participants from Waves one, three and four of the Add Health survey. They weeded out respondents who entered into marriage or began living with someone during or after the third wave. That reduced the total number of respondents to just under 10,000.

Previous studies generally only focused on attractiveness and income as they relate to choosing a marital partner. Furthermore, much of the literature they studies were from small sample sets. The latest study, published in Social Science Research, was led by Michael T. French, a sociology professor at the University of Miami.

French and his team found that those who were rated higher in physical attractiveness or with above average personality traits were more likely to get married. They also looked at data regarding those who were living together and found that personal traits did not make a big difference when choosing someone to cohabitate with.

Results also show that people are able to overlook some flaws and partners who are lacking in one area can still be a desirable candidate for marriage if they make up for it in other areas. The authors state that someone who is not as physically attractive might decide to spend more time grooming so they can be seen as an equally attractive partner who is worthy of marriage.

Adding personality traits like humor, sensitivity, compassion and intelligence makes choosing a marriage partner predictable. People with more attractive qualities are more likely to find a lifelong partner and be fully accepted by their partner. Personal traits include attractiveness, but also go beyond that since initial attraction usually diminished over time.

However, the authors of the study recognize some of the study’s limitations. The study may be considered bias since the traits of social skills, discipline and culture were not included. It lacks information about people who began relationships in early adulthood, which may have given a different response. Furthermore, the study does not factor in the number of offers each respondent had, which may contribute to their relationship experience and thus, alter the way they responded to the questions about personal traits. The study lends itself to future research which corrects these limitations and continues to monitor the young adults as they age to determine if the respondents would give the same answers.

The takeaway of the study for singles trying to find a marriage partner is that personal traits play a bigger role than one might think. In addition to finding someone who is attractive, singles need to dig a little deeper and look for core values, ethics and the character of the people they date. People also need to consider their own personal traits, take an honest look at their flaws and work on other traits to make up for them.

By Tracy Rose


Science Direct
The Atlantic
Medical Daily

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