Is your marriage destined for success? Rate you and your spouse using these indicators.

Researchers from Rice University and the University of Nebraska—Lincoln analyzed data collected from more than 5,000 couples in order to find out how similar political beliefs were among spouses, and how much these elements played a role in the success or failure of a couple.

Simply put, opposites don’t attract. Couples with more similarities tend to fair much better than those that don’t. 

Researchers found that spouses’ strongest similarities were in church attendance and political attitudes, outweighing personality and physical appearance, and that these were key indicators of a successful marriage.  

As a reluctant atheist, I have always felt that I married into the perfect religion, since (as a Jewish friend once said) Jews are just agnostics with complex backstories.

This isn’t far from the truth when it comes to my wife.

The study, published in the Journal of Politics, lists traits they found similar in spouses, from super-alike to somewhat-alike.


I went through the list to determine how Elysha and I rated, and we did well. It appears that we are destined for marital bliss. Here are the results:

  • Church attendance: Alike   
  • Political attitudes: Super alike    
  • Drinking frequency: Alike
  • Education: Super alike  
  • Height: Alike
  • Smoking frequency: Super alike
  • Weight: Alike
  • Sleep length: Not alike 


    Here is a selection of specific issues and attitudes that couples had similar views on, again rated from super-alike to less super-alike:

  • School prayer: Super alike 
  • Abortion: Alike
  • Gay rights: Super alike
  • X-rated movies: Huh? 
  • Death penalty: Super alike 
  • Divorce: Super alike 
  • Women’s liberation: Alike   
  • Nuclear power: Not alike  
  • Astrology: Super alike 
  • Willingness to take a dangerous drug: Super alike 
  • Modern art: Alike 
  • Censorship: Super alike 
  • Belief that it’s better to follow the rules: Not alike 
  • Liking to intimidate other people: Not alike 
  • Having been “fresh” to their parents as a child: Not alike
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    4 Responses to Is your marriage destined for success? Rate you and your spouse using these indicators.

    1. Elysha says:

      I have to wonder why we’re not “super alike” when it comes to women’s lib…Where could your opinion on this possibly differ from mine?

      • lucy says:

        And the penny drops!

      • matthew says:

        While our views on women’s lib are very similar, I am more likely (but still not likely) to look at other causes related to female inequality and attribute some of the blame to women and the decisions they make.

    2. Matt Oaks says:

      I have been going to couples counseling with my wife and we were given Why Love Succeeds or Fails by Wendy Brown to read together. I never would’ve believed I’d be reading such a book, but it’s really made a difference in our marriage. It’s about the underlying things that make up the relationship and how to learn what these things are. We’ve had discussions on many things on your list prior to and during the first few years of marriage, that helped mold our relationship which in turn has helped us navigate muddy water. Brown’s book is pretty good, I recommend it couple I know all the time, is her site. Might be worth a look if you need some help in this area!


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