We don’t usually think of love in terms of numbers or quantitative data. Love is usually depicted as irrational, wild and unpredictable.
However, a pair of economists at the University of Virginia studied love on a scale from one to ten!
Leora Friedberg and Steven Stern compared married couples’ answers when asked two very pertinent questions about the nature of their relationships, and then compared them to the incidence of divorce after six years.
1. “How happy are you in your marriage relative to how happy you would be if you weren’t in the marriage?”
2. “How do you think your spouse answered that question?”
The questions were sourced from a survey of families created at the University of Wisconsin.
The researchers studied the answers of 4,242 households, given over a year, and then again six years later. The results showed that only 40.9% of couples accurately identified their partner’s answer to the first question.
Thus, 60% of couples had “asymmetric” assumptions about each other.
The answers to the first question were also very telling. Individuals who felt that they were faring better when married tended to end up single.
How does all of this data prove the existence of love?
Friedberg explained that part of the concept of love is deriving some happiness from your spouse’s contentedness.
The ramifications of these questions could just as easily apply to a non-married couple in a serious relationship. Also, they can help pinpoint issues in a relationship which might require work.
If you find out that you and your partner aren’t on the same wavelength in terms of happiness and awareness of the other, it’s time to get working!