Could a fragment of DNA be responsible for whether or not you're happily married?

·2-min read
A genetic predisposition may allow you to be more satisfied in your marriage than other individuals.

Unhappy in your marriage? Your genetic predispositions may be involved. As surprising as it may seem, variation in a specific gene could be directly related to relationship satisfaction in the early years of a marriage.

Could it mean that some people are therefore condemned to never be satisfied in their marriage? It seems like a bitter pill to swallow, and yet a psychologist from the University of Arkansas has been investigating the potential correlation between the variation of a specific gene and levels of trust, forgiveness and satisfaction in marriage. The research was borne out of a recent discovery: a variation called "CC" in the CD38 gene is believed to be associated with increased levels of gratitude.

For the purposes of this study, the researchers studied 142 newlyweds -- 71 couples. The DNA of the newlyweds was collected three months after their marriage, and they were asked to complete a survey at the same time and then every four months for three years. At the end of this work, the researchers simply compared the results of the surveys with CD38 variations.

And the verdict? People with the specific CC variant reported higher levels of perceptions deemed beneficial for successful relationships, especially trust, thus corresponding to marriage satisfaction. "CC individuals felt more grateful for their partner, reported higher trust in their partner, were more forgiving of their partner, and were more satisfied with their marriages than were AC/AA individuals," the researchers reported.

Anastasia Makhanova, the psychologist who led the investigation, says however -- and fortunately -- that this does not necessarily mean that those who do not have the genetic variant will not have good relationships.

"So it's not that people who don't have the CC genotype are doomed to have problems. It's just that they're more likely to have issues in some of these domains, and so those people might have to work a little bit more in those domains," the psychologist outlined.