A recent study looked at the survival rates of patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. The results of this study were eye opening. It was discovered that people in happy marriages were 3.2 times more likely to survive 15 years after the surgery than their not so happily married counterparts. It was found that a happy marriage provided more emotional support and also a greater likelihood of adapting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A happy, satisfying marriage can be the biggest factor in our overall wellbeing and survival. Here are some of the biggest factors that have been identified for maintaining a long and happy union.
1. “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” – Numerous studies have shown that the more similar we are to one another, the more likely the marriage will last. The similarities that are most important are the matching of our cognitive styles. There is another popular saying, that “Opposites Attract,” but in reality it is the similarities that keep couples together longer. A recent study found that the most successful marriages are those that are between two “adaptor” personalities. Adaptors are defined as people who are dependable, cautious sound, and like to have structure. In fact, more than 70% of successful marriages in the study were found when the marriage was between two adaptor personalities. The key learning point in all of this is to work on finding solutions to problems that are mutually beneficial. It can also be beneficial to increase time doing activities together that you both find enjoyable.
2. Positivity – When couples exhibit positive behaviors and love for one another, the result is a long, satisfying marriage. Positive behaviors include humor, agreement and caring. Couples who show more caring gestures and positive communication between one another last the longest. The happiest couples react to each other’s good news with lots of enthusiasm and genuineness. Couples who show little interest in one another’s good fortune are the most likely to suffer. Couples, instead, want to build the enthusiasm and help contribute to increased level of enthusiasm, which is termed “capitalizing” in the realm of positive psychology.
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