The Secret to Achieving Great Success is Who You Marry [Study]

The Secret to Achieving Great Success is Who You Marry

When you look at some of the world’s most successful people like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Grammy award-winning music star Beyonce Knowles, and even former US President Barrack Obama, you’ve probably suspected they wouldn’t have achieved the level of success they have if they were married to another person.

Well, now there is new scientific research to back up that suspicion.

study published by Carnegie Mellon University found that one of the secrets to success is the person you marry. Essentially, the spouse you have can greatly affect your decisions, which in turn can either make you successful or not. According to the study, people with supportive spouses are “more likely to give themselves the chance to succeed.”


Supportive Relationships Linked to More Success


How this plays out is people with supportive spouses are more likely to take on potentially rewarding challenges or risks, which in turn means they are more likely to reap the benefits of those risks.

In the study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers studied 163 married couples. Each couple from the pairs was given a choice: to solve a simple puzzle or compete for a prize. Researchers recorded the couples’ interactions as they both decide which to choose.

The researchers found people with more encouraging partners were more likely to take on the challenge and compete for the more rewarding prize, while those with partners who discouraged them opted to solve the simple puzzle.

Six months following the experiment, the researchers also discovered that those who did the more challenging task reported having better psychological well-being, happiness, growth, and better relationships compared to those who solved simple puzzles.

“We found support for the idea that the choices people make at these specific decision points, such as pursuing a work opportunity…matter a lot for their long-term well-being,” said Brooke Feeney, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon.


Ways to Help Push Your Spouse to Success


The study went further to suggest there are ways to help push your spouse to success as well. The most supportive partners, the researchers learned, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity at hand, reassured their partners, and talked about the potential benefits of taking on the challenge, as per the study findings. That support structure can make all the difference.

If you want to be successful, you should also consider who you’re going to marry. And if you’d like your spouse to succeed, you need to start being more supportive of them. Express excitement for new opportunities or have frank discussions about the possible benefits of new challenges or options.

“Significant others can help you thrive through embracing life opportunities,” Feeney explained. “Or they can hinder your ability to thrive by making it less likely that you’ll pursue opportunities for growth.”

Image Credit: White House Photo by Pete Souza.