The secret to happy, long marriages might just be in your genetics.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated March 11, 2019
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A happy and everlasting relationship is something almost everyone strives for. But, according to science, finding and keeping the love alive may have more to do with genetics than choice.

A new paper published by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that a couple’s individual genetic makeup may pre-determine if they will stay together forever.

To come to this conclusion, lead author Joan Monin, associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health, and her team studied 178 married couples ranging in age from 37 to 90 years old.

The study’s participants completed a survey about their feelings of marital security and satisfaction and also provided a saliva sample for genotyping.

With that information, the team found that when at least one partner had a genetic variation known as the “GG genotype within the oxytocin gene receptor,” the couple reported significantly greater marital satisfaction and feelings of security within their relationship.

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“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,” Monin said. “In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner’s genetic predispositions.”

This isn’t the first time the specific oxytocin receptor variant known as OXTR rs53576 has been studied. According to Yale, the receptor has also been linked to “personality traits such as emotional stability, empathy, and sociability.” However, this study appears to be the first to link the receptor to marital satisfaction.

But, don’t despair too much about your and your partner’s genetics. According to the team, the specific oxytocin gene accounts for about 4 percent of the variance of marital satisfaction. That means 96 percent of your relationship happiness is still up to you. If you happen to be looking to improve your bond, here are eight ways to improve your relationship right now.