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The Key to a Happy Marriage? Having Extreme Political Views

Like minds, as they say.

A new survey released by the University of Maryland suggests that politics, religion, and financial status, are a high indicator of marital satisfaction. No surprise there. The interesting data, however, is that the specific political leanings  — and who holds them — tells us a great deal.

The research, conducted by University of Maryland professor Philip Cohen, suggests that wealthy, religious men who have extreme political views on either side of the spectrum (but moreso on the conservative end) report feeling the most satisfied in their marriages. Cohen analyzed a data pool that came from recent General Social Survey results, a survey 40-plus years in the running that encompasses everything from political opinions of the respondents to marital satisfaction and civil liberties.

Economic status was by far the greatest indicator of martial status. Those who were self-described as upper-class, 70 percent said they were very happy in their marriages, compared to those who described themselves as lower-class. (Only 53 percent of lower-class respondents described themselves as happy in their marriages.) Not a big surprise: Those who are struggling to get by have more to stress out about and focus on than their partner and aren’t able to spend as much time (and money) on them.

Interestingly though, the wealthy men who were the happiest had extreme political views and partners who shared them. Why? That’s uncertain. But, in speaking with Bloomberg, Cohen said, “It’s possible that the people with more extreme political views are more likely to have a spouse who agrees with them.”

rich couple

In our increasingly political climate, the survey results are unsurprising. Many couples over the last year — some high profile ones, as well — have divorced because of their partner’s political leanings. Married couples also tend to raise their children with their political beliefs. And over the past decade, political opinions inform the neighborhoods in which we choose to live, the stores we go to, and the people with whom we hang out.

Bi-partisan marriages, however, are more common than previously thought, especially among younger couples. This is mostly because younger people are more likely to register as independent than ascribing to party lines — a trend that has been true since time immemorial. In fact, only half of married couples subscribe to the same political ideation. Most surprisingly, there are far more inter-party marriages than inter-racial marriages.

Republicans marry Republicans and Democrats marry Democrats. Rich people are happier. The religious are happiest. Socialists and far-right activists are probably very happy, but not with each other. And the richest are the least-stressed of all. Big surprise.