I’m a big believer in listening to gut feelings. Trust your gut, and you can never go wrong – and if things do go wrong, you’re way less likely to have regrets, because you followed your instincts. According to a recent study published in Science, I’m not the only one who feels this way. As it turns out, gut feelings can indicate the future success of a marriage. The study found that no matter what positive exclamations they share in public, newlyweds’ gut instincts about their new spouses are a big part of what determines whether they’ll be satisfied in their marriage.
According to the Washington Post, researchers at Florida State University collected a questionnaire from 135 heterosexual newlywed couples. Their “automatic attitude” toward their spouses was gauged as researchers flashed photos of the subjects’ partners followed by descriptive words like “awesome” or “awful.” Using a keyboard, the newlyweds indicated whether the word was positive or negative.
A flash of a photo causes the brain to automatically retrieve its associations to the picture, which means that the faster the keyboard response, the more instinctive the association is. Therefore, people who felt good about the person they married were quicker to select positive adjectives, and slower to identify negative words. Of course, these initial responses often contradicted the subjects’ conscious thoughts about their new partners, which were usually cheerful.
Over time, the couples’ happiness within their marriages mostly matched their initial gut instincts. If you’re questioning your desire to marry someone, it may be more than simply nerves – it could be your subconscious warning you to hightail it out of that wedding.