So it turns out, you really can predict whether or not you’re the “marrying kind” — thanks, science!
We’ve walked you through the alleged scientific/statistical formulas to online dating success, but did you know you could be matrimony-ready and not even realize it? According to a study titled “Personal traits, cohabitation, and marriage” in Social Science Research, if you’re well-groomed, naturally good looking, and are generally pleasant to be around and converse with, you will probably get married sooner rather than later.
Sociology professor Michael T. French, Ph.D, and his researchers at University of Miami drew results from a pool of approximately 9,000 adolescents, assessed their physical and social attributes, and followed their romantic endeavors through adulthood—which, in case you’re wondering, hits somewhere between 24-34, according to this study. The initial assessment involved a rating of each participant’s physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming.
At this point we may argue, beauty — and honestly, personality — is in the eye of the beholder, but the study declared their findings fair: “Though the subjective nature of ‘beauty,’ ‘character,’ and ‘attire’ may present challenges in empirical research, multiple studies have confirmed a high level of agreement across evaluators.”
Fast-forward to adulthood and participants who ranked high in the trifecta were generally more likely to put a ring on it. The study concludes: “The SHRs (sub-hazard ratios for the marriage and cohabitation outcomes) are virtually identical for men and women. Increasing the value of the personal traits index by one standard deviation (SD) is associated with a 13.7% greater hazard of entering into marriage for men and a 13.2% greater hazard of entering into marriage for women.”
This conclusion, however, only applies to participants who ranked high in all three categories, AKA, the total package = the marrying kind.
Lacking in the genetic jackpot or suffering from a bland personality? No worries. The study also noted that participants who lacked in one category can make up for it by excelling in another. So, what you lack in charm and grace, you can make up for by having a super human level of impeccable hygiene.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
The study was unable to pull out individual traits that specifically led to marriage, but researchers did note that for men “having an above-average personality is associated with a higher likelihood of getting married,” and “above-average physical attractiveness increases the cohabitation without subsequent marriage hazard.” And in a strange twist of fate, “an above-average personality decreases the cohabitation without subsequent marriage hazard” for men. (Let’s just note that this study continually associates marriage as a “hazard” and LOL for a moment.)
Notable absences in the study: Homosexual relationships, folks that may refrain from marriage for ethical and/or personal issues, and subjects who defined their relationship status with life partners.
Also, not accounted for: People who just do not want to get married — now or forever. So yes, they may be the “total package” and the “marrying type,” but just opted out of settling down by 34. A 2014 Pew study noted that a mere 26% of Millennials are married and a majority of the unwed generation (69%) say they would like to wed someday but currently lack “a necessary prerequisite—a solid economic foundation.”
So what conclusions can we draw? Millennials might not be the “marrying” generation, but should you want to break from the pack, aim for perfection in the trio of looks, personality, and grooming (or some ratio of the three) to get your relationship on lock-down.
Involuntary singleness solved forever. You’re welcome.
H/t Slate.comRachel Raczka can be reached at email@example.com and tweeted @RachelRaczka.