Want to live happily ever after? Find the GG-spot
New study finds that the secret to a long-lasting marriage is in one’s genes
The secret to achieving your happily ever after may lie in your saliva sample.
A Yale University study has found genetics may be behind long-lasting marriages.
Published in the PLOS One journal, the study examined the role of a genetic variation that affects oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in social bonding.
The research team found that when at least one partner had a genetic variation known as GG genotype within the oxytocin gene receptor, the couple reported significantly greater marital satisfaction and feelings of security with their marriage.
“People fall in love for many reasons – similar interests, physical attraction and shared values among them. But if they marry and stay together, their long-term happiness may depend on their individual genes or those of their spouses,” said the research team.
One hundred and seventy-eight married couples aged between 37 to 90 participated in the study.
Each participant completed a survey about their feelings of marital security and satisfaction, and also provided a saliva sample for genotyping.
“This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time.
“In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner’s genetic predispositions,” the research stated.
The researchers also found people with the GG genotype reported less anxious attachment in their marriage, which also benefited their relationship.
The truth is that not all marriages end up being the stereotypical fairytale people perceive it to be.
According to Statistics SA, 25,326 divorces were granted in SA in 2016.
Results showed 44.4% of these divorces were marriages that had lasted less than 10 years.
Irrespective of the population group, the highest proportion of divorces was among couples who had been married for five to nine years.
Johannesburg psychologist Dr Ingrid Artus said oxytocin was “usually very high in individuals who are infatuated”
“It essentially functions as a feel-good hormone towards another person such as a loved one or newborn.
“It would then make sense that individuals with higher levels of oxytocin, especially if it is a genetic predisposition, may find it easier to connect and bond with others beyond specific typical circumstances such as being in love.”
Durban psychologist Rakhi Beekrum said while the research “is interesting and progressive, there is still a lot more to be researched before we reach a conclusion that a single gene can predict whether a marriage will be happy or not”.
“Genes are complex and affect a broad range of human characteristics, so my opinion is that a particular gene cannot predict the success of a marriage.
“Qualities such as empathy and social support can be acquired.
“Furthermore, individuals have varying expectations from marriage, so we cannot assume that one gene can predict a happy marriage if there are qualities other than emotional attachment that are important.
“Although factors such as emotional attachment and support and important in a marriage, some people have different expectations,” Beekrum said.