Does dating success predict marital success? Maybe not. In a study of 92 dating couples and 77 married couples published in Psychological Science researchers determined there is one primary predictor of happiness for a dating relationship but two primary predictors of happiness in marriage.
According to the study, when dating, the primary predictor of happiness is your perception of whether your boyfriend/girlfriend supports you in the pursuit of your dreams and helps you fulfill your aspirations. This is also one of the primary factors of a happy marriage. But in marriage there is one additional type of support that does not appear to be a big deal in dating. In marriage, not surprisingly, there is a strong need to think your partner is actively helping you fulfill your current responsibilities and obligations. The mundane stuff. Driving carpool. Cleaning the bathrooms. Mowing the lawn. Supporting your spouse’s work travel schedule.
The significant finding, the researchers say, is that we often believe that if our dating partner gives us support to follow our dreams, they’ll probably support other parts of our life, namely our immediate responsibilities. But, the ability to inspire a partner is not an accurate predictor of support for the more mundane and immediate obligations. And this can sometimes lead to a rude awakening after the walk down the aisle. So it may be true that for both men and women, doing the laundry, loading the dishwasher and taking out the trash can really help marital health.
Compare the results of this study to the two studies about marital happiness from a previous IFOD: http://www.theifod.com/two-secrets-to-a-happy-marriage/