Science Study: On Marriage, Listen To That Little Voice In Your Head

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re thinking about getting married, you might want to listen to that little voice in the back of your head.

A new study in the journal Science of more than 100 newlyweds found that a couple’s “gut” feelings about each other — feelings they couldn’t or wouldn’t verbalize — were good predictors of how happy their marriage would be four years later — better predictors than their conscious feelings. The title: “Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriage Will Be Satisfying.”

Of course, we all have gut feelings about our partners — and they tend to be positive or we wouldn’t be partners. But this study looked at something very specific: attitudes that are at such a deep level that we may not be aware of them, but they turn up on a kind of test that experimental psychologists have been using for years, that measures reaction times down to the millisecond.

Here’s how the study worked: Say you’re a newlywed. You sit at a keyboard with your fingers on two special keys, one labeled “good” and one labeled “bad.” And you’re told that when you see a good word — say, “awesome” — you should press the good key, and when you see a bad word — say, “awful” — press the bad key.

‘Because we want so much for it to work out, we will deny those little signals.’

After a few minutes of that, you start seeing photos of your new spouse very briefly, for just 300 milliseconds, before you see the good or bad word. The idea is that the photo of your spouse is activating your automatic attitude, and if your attitude is super-positive, then you’ll be able to press the “good” key when you see the word “awesome” even faster — but you’ll respond to the bad word, “awful,” more slowly. The study found that differences of much less than a second in those reaction times were good predictors of marital satisfaction four years later.

Of course, most newlyweds are pretty crazy about each other, consciously and unconsciously. But the question is whether their love can persist once they start facing the many challenges that real-life relationships throw at them.

The lead researcher on this study, Jim McNulty, a psychology professor at Florida State University, has a theory that these deep unconscious attitudes, if they’re highly positive, can keep couples from getting as bogged down in the negative changes that inevitably come.

And he says he now he wants to work on bolstering these deep positive emotions in order to help relationships.

“The question is, can you strengthen somebody’s automatic attitude toward their partner?” he said. “We’re interested in moving in that direction to see, because I think that kind of experimental evidence would show these automatic attitudes are really having a causal influence, and then they would also provide a potential therapeutic intervention.”

For the meanwhile, can couples contemplating marriage get hold of a test for their automatic attitudes as a precautionary measure before taking the leap?

In a word, no. Other such reaction-time tests — to measure unconscious bias and racism, for example — have been available on the Internet for years. But Jim McNulty says that it’s much too early to try to use the newlywed test at an individual level. It has too many flaws as a predictor, and could be too misleading.

I asked him what he does hope people take away from his results, and he advises — forgive the cliche but — get in touch with your feelings.

“There’s some evidence that people can access their automatic feelings, their immediate gut-level reactions,” he said. “And so if people do that and they feel that there are some doubts, I think probably the best thing to do would be to go talk to a professional, because it’s not certain that a person with doubts is going to be unhappy.”

Reasonable guidance, but for a reality check, I contacted the Gottman Institute, which offers “science-based support for couples and the professionals who help them.”

Dr. Julie Schwartz-Gottman, its president and co-founder, agrees with the study’s suggestion to trust your gut.

“A lot of times, the problems that we have in relationships are there right from the beginning,” she said. “But because we want so much for it to work out, we will deny those little signals we’re getting that something isn’t right, just push them back to the side and just focus on the positive, and that gets us in trouble.”

But how, I asked, can we tell the difference between garden-variety wedding-day jitters and a serious signal of impending badness?

“I think repetition is one of the answers,” she said. “For example, if you’re getting the same signal with a particular behavior over and over again, and you find yourself with that little voice inside you getting angrier and angrier or more and more upset, so it becomes harder and harder to push away the signal, that’s a bad sign. As opposed to something that blips on the screen and disappears. So watch out for repeated patterns of something that really annoys you — for example, if your partner tends to be critical, and you keep thinking, ‘Oh, yes, I can improve,’ but that criticism is really getting under your skin.”

And the key to long-term marital satisfaction, Dr. Gottman says, seems to lie less in some initial positive attitude — after all, aren’t most newlyweds madly in love? — and more in the process of a marriage proving itself.

“Every time we go into a committed relationship, the one question we’re asking each other is, ‘Will you be there for me?’” she said. “And in order to have that really deep positive attitude, one has to have experienced the partner being there for them in very significant ways, over and over again. It doesn’t mean the person won’t mess up at a particular time, it doesn’t mean that our partner won’t even hurt us, won’t do something pretty awful. But bottom line is that if a partner is not there for us over and over and over again, it’s impossible to sustain that deep positive feeling. So it really does take work, it takes building. Nobody comes to a relationship with a permanently positive smile fixed on their face.”

Readers, which rings more true to you, the “Science” findings on initial attitudes or Dr. Gottman’s description of marriage as a process? What is your experience?

A bit on the Science study’s nuts and bolts, from the press release:

Jim McNulty and colleagues followed 135 couples for 4 years, measuring partner satisfaction with a paper/pencil questionnaire that asked spouses to answer 6 questions about how happy they are with the marriage on a scale from 1 (very unhappy) to 10 (perfectly happy). They also asked participants to evaluate their relationship according to a bunch of adjectives like “good” and “satisfying.” These two evaluations were designed to measure couples’ conscious attitudes toward their relationships.

In order to assess participants’ gut-level feelings, what psychologists call a person’s “automatic attitude,” the researchers evaluated reaction times to positive and negative words after brief exposures to photographs of one’s spouse. Research shows that people harboring positive automatic attitudes are fast to respond to positive words and slow to respond to negative words. McNulty and colleagues asked newlyweds to indicate as quickly as possible whether words like “awesome” and “horrible,” were in fact positive or negative after seeing pictures of their spouse (or random control individuals) for 300 milliseconds. The time it took each to respond offered a way to measure automatic attitudes. The researchers found that these automatic attitudes could better predict long-term marriage happiness than conscious attitudes. For example, people who responded more quickly to positive words after seeing a 300 millisecond prime of their partner remained more happy over four years compared to people who took longer to respond to positive words after seeing the picture of their partner. In contrast, couples’ conscious attitudes — the responses participants willingly reported — did not accurately predict how happy couples remained over time. Although the authors acknowledge that it is difficult to know whether people were truly unaware of their gut-level attitudes, or whether they were simply unwilling to report how they truly felt, the results suggest that automatic thoughts that often occur outside of our awareness can shape future outcomes.

Listen to a Here & Now interview on the new study here.

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  • Ashley J. Kreze

    Fantastic study, and great summary. Trusting the voices inside your head is important, but how do you distinguish between emotion and logic?

    • patriciamlewis

      Emotion is a reaction to something and frequently based on logic. Example: Your partner repeatedly forgets to do something that you requested, and you become annoyed *because* you conclude (logic) that he or she no longer cares for you.

    • SarahTea

      Both emotion and logic are important, and I think intuition synthesizes those two along with past experience to help you know what you believe. (So it is helpful, although no option is perfect). It’s good to listen to all three, I say. Logic alone is heartless and can lead to just as much destruction as emotion alone.

  • Olderandwiser

    My mother used to tell me (based upon her unhappy marriage) that you don’t live with a man’s education, his money, his looks, etc. NOPE! What you live with is his disposition! And boy was she right!

    For all those contemplating marriage, I believe that you should heed this. Otherwise, years later (in an unhappy marriage) you will say to yourself, “If I only knew then what I know now…oh wait, I DID know then…really, I did…I just ignored it.”

    It is not easy to be honest with yourself when you desperately (yes, desperately is the word) want a certain person to be THE ONE, but that self-reflective honestly will save you and your future kids a lot of heartache. My mother always told me that she knew that she was making a mistake-even on her wedding day, She was right. My dad was not the right man for her and she emotionally paid for her decision. (And we did, too). My mom was an abundantly warm and happy person who was eventually driven to a breakdown.

    So, if you think leaving a potential spouse is hard NOW based upon your gut feelings, please weigh that against a lifetime of Hell.

  • Donn Irving

    With 56 years and counting, those little voices were rather weakened by years of experience and are wedged between pages of respecting the differences and strengthening the likenesses. Besides, my bride is a tad sharper than I. And I love it all. I am blessed.

  • Vera

    People can’t always be there for each other. Why do we expect someone to love, forgive, trust, respect, and be there when if we look at how we have behaved toward ourselves, our parents, children and friends we have not always been able to do everything right, be there and love at every moment needed. Can we suddenly be a perfect person the day we get married? But, we learn and grow together and that means making mistakes. If that person has a genuine disregard for us and shows it over time then yes, boot them out of your life for good!! Noone needs that!! But couples are not suddenly immune to life’s trials and tribulations and we are definitely not ready to suddenly be 100% supportive of the other through everything!!!

  • Rahm K

    Solution is ” tie your happiness to your goals and not to people are things” – Einstein. We humans always change and are unpredictable. Marriage was a system built for maintaining social balance and though it seemed it worked well for centuries, the psychological impact was never studied fully until now. In a way, it creates misery due to certain values enforced but the human nature unwilling to accept it.

    • Rahm K

      Typo…’people or things’.

      • patriciamlewis

        You can edit your post.

  • Jai Dee Lange

    Yes, this is so true. What has been most interesting for me after knowing my husband for several years, dating for 4 and then being married for 26, is how I missed the signs that things had changed. My husband and I were soulmates. Deeply in love. Each of us always thinking of the other. The kind of magic love between us that one reads about in fairytales. Yet after 17 years of marriage, a bout of cancer took us down. He became addicted to painkillers for years and years without my knowledge, he went into rehab and it was then that I discovered he had stopped working for years, used all our savings and retirement income to pretend he was working and I was left with two young sons, and a husband who recovered completely but had turned into a self-absorbed, narcissist, manipulative, gaslighter. When things are going so well, you have a huge amount of faith that you will meet the challenges of life the same as you do the good fortune — in it together, having and holding, watching out for each other. I have had the highest high and the lowest low and now can’t wait to get away from this nightmare. The gut doesn’t always register correctly and can sometimes be lulled into believing that someday, things will be as they were again. Listen. Too the good and the bad. A cautionary tale.

  • J Swan

    I think both. The gut feeling happens early on in a relationship and can be something you go back to no matter how long you’re together. But the “being there” is important long-term and it accumulates.

    • Kenneth

      I once sat next to a man on a flight who told me (after the plane took off) that he was sure we were going to crash and be killed. I am not spooked by “visions” like these. So I asked him if he had ever felt this way before? He said, “yes, during every flight.” True story.

      The point is, that guy was sharing his gut feelings with me quite genuinely. Yet they were-obviously-wrong factually. Indeed, his feelings really had little to do with the airplane or the weather or anything else actually related to safety. Rather, his feelings were exclusively about some aspect of him.

      It isn’t that one’s gut lies. After all, you feel what you feel. But the question always is, are your gut feelings telling you something actually connected to who your loved one is and the fate of your marriage? Or is it a projection of some part of yourself, or a parent, or a traumatic past relationship or whatever. In other words, are you watching very realistic “movies” starring yourself (in some form) in your own home theater between your ears?

      I can’t resist one more example. I always form initial opinions about people based on first impressions. “You know, there’s just something I don’t like.” As confident as I may feel those assessments, I find they tend to be wrong about 50 percent of the time. No better than a coin flip. So where do those initial opinions come from. My new acquaintance or me? I know how I’d bet, so I never let those initial opinions rule my behavior.

      • LJreader

        Love your story! Fortunately airplanes are not impacted by OUR negative feelings the way a marriage might be. If I recall, the study did not say our ‘gut’ feelings were a good predictor of the worthiness of our potential partner. The claim was simply that our feelings were a good predictor of the future happiness of the marriage. This leaves several possibilities open. One is that I am correctly predicting incompatibility or perhaps a character flaw in my mate. Another one of several possibilities is that my ‘gut’ reaction is exposing my own bad attitude. Perhaps my own negative outlook IS the problem. Could that lead to an unhappy marriage? I think yes. So all your points above are well-spoken, good advice. But I don’t think they contradict the findings of the McNulty study, at least as it’s presented in the article. But perhaps you were responding more to Dr. Schwartz-Gottman’s comments? She (at least as quoted in the article) does introduce the idea that examination of our (repeated) feelings may be a useful ‘partner-assessment’ tool. I’d go with that one too. Potential partners give us certain types of information about themselves that airplanes usually don’t. If the airplane takes a sudden nose-dive then rights itself, then repeats the same pattern several more times, start to worry!

        • Ken

          Hello, LJreader. Exactly, as you say, I do think one’s own emotional landscape has a big impact on how you feel about someone else, often in ways having little to do with who those people actually are. Certainly people give us information about themselves, but how you assimilate it and what you think can be pretty distorted by what is going on between one’s own ears. So, without going inside and probing a bit, those gut feelings can be driven a lot more by who you are than who a potential mate is.

          The research, which obviously I don’t think much of, does refer to “gut-level feelings, what psychologists call a person’s “automatic attitude.” I’ve never heard of an automatic attitude, but, if an attitude is automatic. it necessarily has to have more to do with your own innards than who someone else is. At another place they refer to gut feelings as virtually unconscious, so I really don’t know exactly what they mean.

          There’s also something else going on I suspect. I am sure you have divorced friends, if not yourself. I am divorced. Among my friends and me, all of us have said at one point or another. “I always knew my marriage was doomed, even before the ceremony. I wish I had listened.”

          But that can’t really have been true, or most of us wouldn’t have married. I sure wouldn’t have. When I think carefully, I realize I didn’t think my marriage was going to go south. Neither did my friends. or we would have all shared those feelings with each other at the time.

          That supposedly recollected feeling is hopelessly contaminated by what actually happened in the end. So, it’s often (not always) a false memory. All of us do that kind of thing often. “Oh, I just knew things (whatever) were going to turn out that way. I’m not a bit surprised.” But this is a kind of thing we feel after the fact when we try to go back and make sense of what happened.

          Anyway, RJreader, I still think marriage is a very good thing, if you get it right, whatever fears and panic your gut may scream at you.

          I do have another priceless airplane story that also bears on all this. Let me know if interested.

          Ken.

          • patriciamlewis

            You wrote: “But that can’t really have been true, or most of us wouldn’t have married. I sure wouldn’t have. When I think carefully, I realize I didn’t think my marriage was going to go south. Neither did my friends. or we would have all shared those feelings with each other at the time”

            No, you wouldn’t have shared them with anyone, because your unconscious mind didn’t even share them with your conscious mind. The unconscious mind has been scientifically proven to be responsible for up to 85% of our behavior, thoughts, and feelings. I don’t have a citation handy, but I am certain that in the last 10 years or so this has been determined unequivocally via experiments.

          • LJreader

            Yes, interested in the airplane story. By all means share.

          • SarahTea

            It makes sense to me that even if the problem lies within you and not the other person, it will still impact your marriage. Both people contribute to the marriage.

            To counteract the bias of not knowing how much my assessment was based on me and how much was accurate about him, I talked to several of our mutual friends (who had known him 2 years longer than they knew me, but were close friends of mine also.) I believe we were close enough for them to tell me the truth; and had valuable input as people who had known him longer. It didn’t guarantee an easy journey, but it did help me to confirm that I was not hopelessly self-decieving as I decided to marry him.

  • WasWaryofMarriage

    I totally agree that little voices of instinct inside you (for anything) should be noticed more in people. I was totally wary of marriage for years and never wanted to tie the knot w/ any of my partners (one was 7 years), until I started dating an old friend, and everything just seemed to click. It really does have no words, sometimes. Being unselfish and letting go fo some of my ego was definitely something I learned from him. Biggest take away after one year of marriage is, be nice and respectful, apologize if you are not (the words “I am sorry” has strength), reflect on your own actions, feel comfortable/strong to talk about anything (just communicate a lot in general) and as the article said, be a pillar for that person. Life is too short to be angry/sad/miserable with someone you are sharing your life with…..

  • billdaviswords

    Key words: “for them.” Make it about your partner (and of course they do the same) and it will be good and get better and better. 38 years into this, and I can agree with that!

  • Dustin Prater

    Well, my wife and I just celebrated our 4 year anniversary, and we had pretty good gut feelings about each other! I’d say the study is spot on!

  • Terry Cooper

    I am not necessarily a fan of marriage. I was married twice, both very unhappy experiences for me. I now look at every type of relationship with a jaundiced eye. In my opinion, people have become very predatory even in their pursuit of relationships/friendships. Now that I am old, and in theory and practicality, it would probably be best if I wasn’t alone, on some levels, I prefer to remain alone. I advocate that people should first learn to be alone and be content with that. Most of the “relationships”, marriages are based purely on hormone levels at any given time, a lack of experience, and buying into the hype that there is such a thing as “soul mates”, or “happily ever after”. perhaps those who manage to stay together for a lifetime have found some kind of magic bullet, but I tend to think they end up staying together for the sake of the kids, for the sake of maintaining the status quo, and perhaps out of fear of the unknown. I’m now 63 years old and am now at the stage in which my hormones are depleted. I find that I have no patience for other peoples’ hormones…lol… last week I read an article by Suzanne Somers , the self-proclaimed expert on everything, in which she claims that she and her husband have sex twice a day, everyday. I am still laughing. What a disservice she and others like her do to the public by making such claims, and advocating that people pump themselves full of hormones that are supposed to decline over the course of ones life. When I read that article, I imagined all kinds of people wondering WTH is wrong with them, and some even feeling envious of her and her husband’s reportedly robust sex life at their somewhat advanced ages. lol. Not only do I not advocate for marriage, I also don’t advocate for believing BS. I think being realistic and practical is the very best approach to take in all things including marriage and the expectations of same. By virtue of the fact that any relationship involves at least two people, it’s a given that there will be opposing wants, needs, desires, and dreams. The problem is getting all those things on the same page and then working together to accomplish them so that BOTH partners are happy and the relationship is workable.

    • Dave Holzman

      People are different. One of my friends began the first good relationship of her life in her mid-50s. (She’d had a husband from Hell.) The guy was the same age. They were love-making multiple times a day in the beginning (yes she told me, and no, I don’t know why she felt comfortable enough to tell me that, but I was very happy to listen and very happy for her). It’s probably almost a decade later now. They’ve gone through her crazy book project, and are going through her mother’s dementia where she’s having to give a lot of the care, which includes changing diapers, and they’ve gone through a variety of other trials and tribulations and money is tight. And they are doing just fine as a couple.

      My paternal uncle once let it slip that he and my aunt were still doing it once, and sometimes twice a week–this after 50 years of marriage. And they were obviously still extremely fond of each other after all that time.

      Anyway, both the science findings and the gut sound reasonable to me. My own failed relationships certainly started out with warnings from within.

  • J

    This was published in Science??? I could do this over a weekend with a Facebook poll.

    • science?

      There must be more to it than what is presented here for it to get into Science … surely!

    • Collembola

      If you did it on Facebook, it wouldn’t get published in Science. That is not a rigorous, unbiased selection of study participants.

  • Annie

    I think trusting your gut is the way to go. I had all kinds of gut bad feelings about my partner’s ability to remain faithful (i.e. “be there for me”) and it turned into a major meltdown 7 years into our marriage. I thought it was all over but after a lot of counseling, we are still together. However, shaking the bad feelings is proving problematic for me. I don’t trust and certainly don’t love like I did. I thought my feelings would change and time would erase the bad gut feelings now that we have improved our communication and changed our behaviors, but they haven’t and I don’t know that they ever will. I wonder if I should have divorced when the affair came out and given myself a fresh chance to find love I could feel good about. I talked myself into this marriage and I worry that all those years I was being mistreated killed the love and good feelings I ever had such that he can’t get them back. I worry that I no longer love him the way I feel like I should. He has been a changed man since we went to counseling but it doesn’t seem to be changing my heart. Listening to my gut feelings over a decade ago would have steered me away from this altogether but now I feel like I made a commitment I must honor and I’m stuck. I care about my husband in many ways but good feelings, love, butterflies… all that is gone.

    • moving_on

      I have been in a similar situation … and it was ultimately better for me to be out of the relationship (like you, I tried to fall ‘in love’ again and trust 100% again but I just felt really differently despite still loving my partner deeply). It sounds like you have tried very hard to make lemonade out of some lemons … if you can bare it, leave and get going on the next phase of your life. Not everyone will agree with this, but, life is so short and I think moving on will be the best decision for you. You will need to be brave, but, I am guessing you will have support in this decision. Good luck Annie.

    • Kim

      Sounds to me like your partner deserves a fresh chance at another love, too. One that isn’t so predicated on him/her being perfect. You are responsible for your own reality….period….as is s/he. I hope you will both see this as an opportunity to let yourselves (and each other) off the hook….

    • Margaret

      Do you want to feel good about your husband and your relationship with him? If you are open to this, it can happen. You can’t make it happen, but you can open yourself to undreamt-of possibilities, and the good feelings, love, butterflies, etc. can happen. Really.

    • Campo

      That is the thing about affairs. you can’t un-F something!

    • Terence

      It is far more than ‘trusting your gut’. You need to learn what IS your gut first. Find the ‘thinker’ and you’ve found the real Self. The place where truth is always found.

    • Some1

      Thanks for sharing. I have identical problem except that my husband is not there for me emotionally, at all. We really don’t even get along. I was an acquisition for him. Now, I’m the maid and cook. I would leave if I could afford to.

  • Doug

    This reminds me of an article I saw floating arounf Facebook a couple of weeks back. It kind of puts it into perspective…

    http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/

    I think a lot of it is true. It’s not a “You have to do something for me because I did for you”, but more of a “I want to do this because I love you”. Once that want turns into a need (in order to keep the relationship happy), then you’re in trouble.

  • Long-suffering hyphenate

    If you know her name is Julie Schwartz-Gottman, don’t then call her Dr. Gottman.

  • Patrick

    The process model rings true for me and mine. My wife and I are very frank with one another and we always have been. When one of sees a problem we may let it pass the first few times but neither one of us will suffer it for long. We address the issues as they come up and talk it out. It can be pretty rough at times but the end result is usually mutual understanding. We are not good at addressing multiple issues at once so this is a one issue at a time kind of deal. The notion of a process fits nicely into this model. Oh, and if it matters we have been married 7.5 years and we have two grorgeous daughters ages 3 and 1.

  • BeH20

    It is both. In hindsight, my first two marriages’ failure should have been easily predicted, precisely because of the little “gut speeches” I ignored or tried to reword. But my current relationship has lasted for over 25 years (married for 8) because of our efforts and willingness to have difficult conversations, to be inconvenienced for the sake of each other, and for finding forgiveness and solutions when things get tough.

  • ValleyNews

    We’ve been married 32 years. Practice, practice, practice.

  • Amy c

    Not sure about Dr. Julie Schwartz-Gottman’s assertion that the study clearly

    concludes to ‘trust your gut’, which seems to imply trusting your judgement on if the partner will ‘be there for you’. First it would need to be determined if the individual associates intimacy and vulnerability with ‘awful’ in any case. The participant would need to first be asked similar questions about the parental experience and previous relationships. These results could indicate the possibility the participant is hyper vigilant, suspicious, emotionally insatiable OR even overly trusting, which suggests their unconscious ideas about their new partner would be strongly biased. If the results of the test are negative towards the new relationship, the solution could then lie in ‘trusting your gut’ / judgements about your partner, OR the realization that unconscious drives, rooted in memory and perception, will likely lead to the destruction of the new relationship. In the latter case, the participant might be advised to engage in counseling before entering into the commitment to determine if they are in fact choosing a destructive parental dynamic OR imagining it to be one.

    • Ang

      I agree. When we enter a relationship, we often look to fix past unfulfilled relationships (unconsciously). And so we stick around because that’s what we have learned.I realized after, that I held on to even though I knew something didnt feel right. He slowly broke me into his child (regressed)

      In the end two ppl have to be willing to love each other without trying to change the other. I was expected to become his mother/child and mind read his every need and fear. He had deep abandonment (victim) issues, something I couldn’t fix (or. Anyone, but himself) i didnt know right away but I went along w it (my past, parent relations pattern)

      However, I now realized that I need to be okay with all that I am first, in order for me to pick the right person, otherwise I wouldn’t had allowed the abuse in the first place. Love yourself and don’t allow others to take it away. Love allows for others to coexist in your life and not crush you..Rule: When I love myself I can love others!!!

  • DatBlister

    Considering the average marriage lasts about 8 years, this sets a really low bar for success don’t you think?

    • Admiral_Shackleford

      Mathematical averages probably lie. There are probably a lot of marriages that last 2 years or less, then there are probably a lot of marriages that last a lifetime. With a 50% divorce rate, we probably get the mathematical average of 8 year long marriages.

      • CT

        Sounds like a job for Standard Deviation Man!

    • rph3664

      Yes and no. I know a woman who got married at the courthouse on Tuesday, and he dropped dead from a massive heart attack on Saturday. I see obituaries for senior citizens whose second marriage lasted only a short time for the same reason. Those definitely skew the average downwards.

  • madisontruth

    It cuts one of two ways, either both egos are set aside at inconvenient times, or it’s the lyrics to “Use Me” by Bill Withers.

  • Sylvie

    I love it! It’s so true! When someone is there for you over and over again, it does something to your brain! Add that the person is completing you in ways that you would love to and the fire takes… and lasts! Our lasted and grew for 12 years or til death seperated us. Don’t be sad… Most people won’t know love that beautiful :-)