happily ever after

While living together, a person has to revise a number of habits and learn in a new way to consider things. This is inevitable, otherwise, quarrels and scandals cannot be avoided. So people in the couple gradually change their behavior. Not even very noticeable for themselves.

What do psychologists think?

Scientists have not yet fully figured out how exactly marriage affects life satisfaction and whether it makes people more satisfied with themselves. But what they are sure is that a long life together with one partner really changes your personality and your partner as well – for better or worse, who knows.

This is understandable: in the end, after getting married and swearing allegiance, you will have to adapt to each other, try to be diplomatic, patient, learn to compromise and plan together for the future. Not to mention the fact that your lifestyle can change in the most radical way compared to how you lived before marriage.

Investigation of changes in the personality with marriage

The best thing we can rely on is the work of German scientists, who have been studying the changes in the personality of 15,000 people for 4 years. Participants got married while the study, allowing scientists to compare the changes that took place in their personality with the state of affairs of their single friends and girlfriends.

As it turned out, those who entered into marriage had such features as emotionality, spontaneity in the expression of feelings, and openness to new experiences became less noticeable.

The difference with single participants was relatively small, but research has confirmed: people in a marriage become more predictable and less extroverted compared to what they were before.
Even full extroverts after marriage reduce their social activity. And this is logical, because the partner also needs to devote time, otherwise disputes and quarrels cannot be avoided. At the same time, there is one rather paradoxical feature – if marriage is concluded by people who have known each other for a long time and are good friends, then there is no decrease in extraversion. For some reason, they have enough time and attention to everything.

This is confirmed by an earlier American study published in 2000. Divorced women showed a higher degree of openness to new experience and more features of an extrovert – as if they were freed from the shackles of marriage. At the same time, just married men showed a higher degree of consciousness, less susceptible to stress and experience less of nervous breakdowns. Still, the social role of a man – “protector and support”, has practically not disappeared anywhere. And it affects most men positively.

A more conscious attitude towards life is quite explicable – it is necessary to build strong and healthy family life.

Married couples boast an improvement in self-control. Let’s just say, men without self-control can not be. That’s just not everyone is, how difficult it is sometimes to hold back. And for many married men, this becomes an unpleasant surprise. Fortunately, self-control can also be learned.

This is evidenced by the experiment of Dutch psychologists from the University of Tilburg, who believes that the two main features that develop in marriage are self-control and the ability to forgive. Researchers regularly surveyed 199 selected couples who got married just literally watched the answers change. The study lasted 4 years.

As a result, it turned out that most men and women began to respond more calmly to the shortcomings of their partner and learned to forgive them just like that. Both the ability to forgive and the ability to control oneself improved.

Statistically, these improvements were not significant, either moderate or small. But scientists emphasize, they were the same as those of people who completed a special course developed by psychologists.

What about the complacency of those who live in marriage? A study about changes in life satisfaction after marriage showed some increase immediately after the marriage,  but a year later it returned to the previous indices.

But we should take into account that people are all different, someone initially more suited to married life, a good husband or a good wife “by nature”. And for someone more natural and desirable bachelor lifestyle. For certain people, marriage is exactly what they need for life satisfaction.

And finally: is it true that over time, a husband and wife become more and more alike in their habits and tastes? All these comic situations, when long-married couples finish each other’s sentences or appear on people in the same clothes.

Most likely, this is a myth. If everything was like that, we would endlessly stumble upon equally dressed and speaking like one person elderly men and women. There are no evidence supporting the theory of “increasing similarity.” Rather, it is true that people with closer personality traits are more likely to marry each other.

In a nutshell, marriage leads to changes in your personality, but these changes are not so dramatic. However, this can not be said about the next grand event in a person’s life – the birth of a child.