Being in a serious relationship can change you in drastic ways, just ask Rob Kardashian, but it turns out there are even hidden ways we get in sync with our significant others after we've been married for decades. A new study discovered that aside from dressing alike and even sort of starting to look alike, long-time couples start displaying similar health characteristics. It's a beautiful phenomenon called “couples concordance in health” by the smarty pants psychologists who discovered it.
No one really knows why it happens, but the two best guesses have to do with the fact that we tend to choose our spouse from similar socioeconomic, racial, and educational backgrounds. The second reason has more to do with shared lifestyle, as in, after you live with someone for decades, you tend to be sharing similar foods and activities, thus leading to similar health outcomes.
What was fascinating about this new study published by University of Michigan researcher Shannon Mejia was how fast the correlation of health between couples happened. She studied over 1500 couples, half who had been married for 20 years and half for 50. And, there wasn't much difference between the couples who had been paired up for the shorter amount of time. Sure, 20 years seems like a long time, but 50 years is more than half the average lifespan in the United States!
Talking to New York Magazine's The Science of Us column, Mejia said:
“It’s something that researchers have learned to control for, because it’s known that people in groups are more similar to one another than a random person on the other side of the world. In our case, we’re looking at couples. We’re taking what used to be taken as a nuisance — the non-independence of the data — [and it] becomes our outcome of interest.”It's both terrifying and kind of comforting to know that you literally start to share almost everything after decades of life with the same partner. It just goes to show, you are more than just what you eat, who you pick to spend the rest of your life with also weight heavily in your health. So pick wisely!