Just thinking about marriage can bring positive change to your life, says science

Let’s be honest: most of us think about marriage quite often, because why not?! It could be having to do with watching all those Disney movies growing up, or you might just be a planner and already know your “color theme.” Whether or not you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s healthy to have a goal in mind and some idea for the future.

But there’s another reason why thinking about the Big Day is important. Studies have shown how people commit fewer crimes when they’re married, which makes sense, because you don’t want to disappoint your partner or, you know, be separated from them by being locked up.

But now it turns out that planning for marriage might be keep people on the straight and narrow as well.

A study from Ohio State University has shown that teenagers and young people who demonstrate clear goals for their relationship (i.e. getting married in the next five years) reported committing fewer delinquent acts than those without such a plan.

via giphy

The lead author of the study is Rachel Arocho, and she notes that people might “start to act married” even before the wedding, which spawns good behavior (you know, like that of an adult). Co-author of the study, Claire Kamp Dush, reinforces this idea,“Just the expectation of marriage may be enough to change some people’s behavior.” 

To reach their conclusion, these researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, looking at thousands of people who were between 15-20 years old. Participants were asked to estimate the chance that they’d be married in 5 years, as well as give their history of delinquency.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found that young people with higher expectations to marry in a reasonable timeframe had lower levels of misconduct. It’s interesting to note that the presence of delinquent activity wasn’t linked with later expectations of marriage, though.

Of course, everybody and all relationships are different, and under no circumstance should someone get married solely for these reasons – but it’s fascinating food for thought.

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