February 12, 2010
Written by Cory Chandler
A 25-year study shows that adults in their early 20s who display high levels of emotional intimacy are more likely to feel happy in their marriage.
Buy a cup of coffee these days, and you get a warning that you might get burned. Too bad no such label exists for potential suitors.
Or does it? For every jilted Valentine out there, a ray of hope: New research suggests that young adults display emotional behaviors that could indicate how well they will settle into married life.
Results of a 25-year study published in the Journal of Adult Development show that adults in their early 20s who display high levels of emotional intimacy with friends or romantic partners are more likely to weather emotional and financial conflicts and feel happy in their marriage.
“The skills of intimacy, such as sharing and attention to the needs and emotions of a closest other, are related to a constellation of marital indicators,” said Judith Fischer, a professor and fellow of the National Council on Family Relations.
And, though women are typically thought to be better at sharing intimate connections with others, Fischer found that gender did not play a factor in how well participants adjusted to married life.
Fischer, in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, began the study in 1982, when she gathered data on the emotional intimacy of some 400 graduates and graduating college students. She followed up with the participants twice over the next two years, then in 1990 and 2007.
“I was just driven by curiosity to find out what happened to these folks,” she said. “I wanted to find out what had happened in their lives.”
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