If you're at all bothered by lovey-dovey couples who talk alike, you'll be maddened to learn that scientific findings justify their public display of cutesy couples communication.
A new study says that happy couples mimic each other's speech and writing patterns, and although there's a lot to be said for non-verbal cues, most people will admit that a blissful couplehood won't last long without the regular exchange of words in some form. 10 Things Happy Couples Talk About
A quick disclaimer: science thinks that the "opposites attract" theory is bull. Remember our discussion on how similar fighting styles may help to prevent divorce? Effective couples communication usually begins with singles who were attracted to someone whose communicative style mimicked their own in the first place.
Combine conventional wisdom and other studies on couples communication, and the new findings on "language style matching" suggest that shared expressions reflect the happiness of a couple who already have a comparable grasp of vocabulary and syntax. So it's not as if someone who talks like Snooki will develop Oscar Wilde-ian eloquence after dating someone with that caliber of wit. Dating: Do I Talk Too Much?
To monitor the language use of couples, researchers studied everyone from college students to famous poets who were romantically involved. Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were among the most well-known examples. Plath and Hughes' passionate relationship crashed after Plath discovered her husband's infidelity. Scientists analyzed their respective poetry to find that their writing styles were less of a match than those of Elizabeth Barrett (of "How Do I Love Thee?" fame) and Robert Browning, for example. As the story goes, Browning and Barrett eloped after a secret courtship. Barrett, who was six years older than Browning and mildly handicapped, was floored by the handsome poet's interest in her. Not surprisingly, the couple stayed together till death did them part. Love Letters Made Easy
We hope that researchers will conduct a more in-depth version of this study on couples with different educational backgrounds, first languages or dialects. Do Americans who marry Brits tend to replace "apartment" with "flat?" If Marge and Homer were a real-life couple, would Marge start saying "d'oh!" all the time?