If you’re already married, you probably either assume, or at least hope, that the person you walked down the aisle with is your one and only, life-long, forever soul mate.
But people do get it wrong.
Do you think you’re brave enough to really test things out and see if your marriage will last?
If the answer is yes, all you two have to do is answer the two simple questions that researchers say can predict the quality and strength of a marriage.
During the course of a study conducted by economists Leora Friedberg and Steven Stern from the University of Virginia as part of the long-term National Survey of Families and Households, asked 4,242 couples two simple questions.
Their team then followed up with them six years later.
If you want to know if your marriage will last, these are the two questions their research says you should ask:
1. How happy are you in your marriage relative to how happy you would be if you weren’t in the marriage?
2. How do you think your spouse answered that question?
Those couples who said they wouldn’t be any less happy if they were not in their marriage were, perhaps unsurprisingly, also the couples who had divorced within those six years. Oops!
“The idea of love here is that you get some happiness from your spouse simply being happy,” Friedberg explained to UVA Today.
“For instance,” she continued, “I might agree to do more house chores, which reduces my personal happiness somewhat, but I get some offsetting happiness simply knowing that my partner benefits.”
Looks like a lot of couples don’t prioritize that. And the news only gets worse from there.
Only 40.9% of couples who participated in the study were able to predict what their partner would say, so many weren’t on the same page.
Almost 60% couldn’t perfectly answer information about each other.
And lastly, a quarter had “serious discrepancies” in their perceptions of their overall happiness as a couple.
We know that as of the latest data, somewhere around 39% of marriages in the US end in divorce, so hopefully more couples who give these questions a shot can do a better job of estimating the likelihood that their union will last.
In the meantime, let’s hope that holy matrimony lasts longer than six years for far more married couples everywhere.
Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on June 29, 2015 and was updated with the latest information.