Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
thinner_close_xCreated with Sketch.

The Secret To A Happy Marriage May Be In Your DNA

The secret to a happy marriage seems to be a never-ending topic of discussion, but Robert Levenson, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, is taking a closer look -- all the way to the cellular level, in fact.

A new video from Fig. 1 -- a web series from the University of California that focuses on new ideas and research surrounding science, art and more -- visits the topic of whether DNA can effect nuptial bliss. And according to Levenson, that answer is yes.

One ongoing study, Levenson explains, started in 1989 and follows 156 middle-aged and older couples, 125 of whom gave DNA samples. Every five years, they're quizzed by researchers about their marital satisfaction.

“Some couples are in these relationships that are very emotionally difficult -- a lot of anger and sadness and contempt. And the marriages just get really miserable,” Levenson says in the video. “Others have similarly toxic environments, but they seem to do okay. So this was not what we were expecting ... and we started thinking that, maybe, the answer lies in their genes."

Twenty-six years in, Levenson believes one factor is the gene that distributes serotonin, or the "happy" chemical in our brains. One common variation in the gene leads to bigger emotional responses in those who carry it; while the difference may be slight, he points out, over time all those responses can have a cumulative effect in a long-term relationship.

Happy wife, happy life? It may be time to update that saying.

Watch the video above to learn how Levenson believes something as small as a cell can make all the difference.

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson
Kris Connor via Getty Images
Hanks and Wilson have been married for 26 years, since April 1988. The "Castaway" star gushed to Ellen DeGeneres about his wife in December 2013, saying, "The only thing we ever argue about is who loves each other more."
Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon
Anna Webber via Getty Images
Bacon and Sedgwick have been married for 26 years, since September 1988. The "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actress joked with the "Today Show" in October 2014 that the secret to a long marriage is “not to take advice about marriage from celebrities.”
Tracy Pollan & Michael J. Fox
Chance Yeh via Getty Images
Longtime loves and co-stars Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox have been happily married since July 1988. Fox told Ellen DeGeneres in 2014that it's balance that makes their relationship work: "I'm an optimist. I'm famous for my positive outlook and I expect the best things to happen. Tracy's a realist and a bit of a pessimist and a bit of a hypochondriac."
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith
Anthony Harvey via Getty Images
These two married in December 1997, and the spark is very much alive between them. "I love when Will looks at me and says, 'You look so freaking good!' When my husband of almost 20 years can’t take his eyes off me? That’s amazing," Pinkett Smith told Shape magazine in December 2014.
Matthew Broderick & Sarah Jessica Parker
Bruce Glikas via Getty Images
Broderick and Parker married in May 1997 and have been going strong ever since. "We really are friends beyond everything else and we talk a lot," Broderick told Meredith Vieira in November 2014. "Keep talking I guess, I know how cliché that is. Too much silence is definitely not a good idea."
Meryl Streep & Don Gummer
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images
The acclaimed actress and her sculptor husband tied the knot in September 1978. Streep told New Zealand Women's Weekly in 2009 that the secret to their long relationship is strong communication. "You have to listen to your partner’s problems, suggestions and advice, and accept that you’re not always right. Conversation is the key to a successful marriage," she said.
Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna
Leon Bennett via Getty Images
These two actors, who tied the knot in March 1997, credit their sex life as the secret to their almost 18-year marriage. "We're kinky as hell in bed," Rinna told HuffPost Live in May 2013.
Hugh Jackman & Deborra-Lee Furness
Michael Loccisano via Getty Images
The two Australian actors wed back in April 1996 and are still going strong after 18 years together. "It gets better every year," Furness told Town & Country magazinein September 2013.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Brad Hall
C Flanigan via Getty Images
The "Seinfeld" alum and Hall wed in June 1987, after meeting at Northwestern University. In an interview on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" in April 2013, Louis-Dreyfus said she knew Hall was "the one" for her "almost immediately."
Christine Taylor & Ben Stiller
James Devaney via Getty Images
Taylor and Stiller wed in May 2000 and are still together after almost 15 years of marriage. "We just started hanging out with each other and it developed into, 'Wow, this feels great. I really like this person. I think I love this person. I really do -- I love this person.' It hit me out of the blue," Stiller told Parade in 2013.
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been married since October 1996. When HuffPost Entertainment asked Tim McGraw for the secret to the country singers' long marriage, he said, "The easy answer is just to shut up and not say anything, that’s easy. But really it’s a lot of give and take and it’s a lot of no ultimatums."

MORE IN Weddings