Who Is the ‘Marrying Type?’


We’ve probably all got memories of friends from younger days who we “just knew” would be married before not-too-long.  We even dubbed them “the marrying kind.’

Now science has tried to quantify just what makes someone marriage material. A new study reported in Atlantic magazine looks at how attractiveness, personality and grooming influence your “marriageability rating” and comes up with a pretty non-startling conclusion.

And that is that attractive, agreeable and clean people are more likely to get married. And in a conclusion reminiscent of Helen Gurley Brown’s advice in Sex and the Single Girl (1962) the academic researchers make a suggestion for how to “up your chances of getting marriage offers.”

Package Deal

The study looked at 9000 adolescents from 1994 to 2009, starting while they were at middle school or high school and ending when they were aged 24 to 34, rating them on a scale of 1:5 on looks, personality and grooming.

Only one statistically significant finding emerged – men of above average attractive personality were more likely to get married.

No other single trait emerged as dominant, but your overall rating on all three determined whether you were “marriage material.”

Synergy Rampant

While no single trait triumphed, it was the overall score from all three that influenced your value in the marriage stakes.  As the researchers concluded, it’s the old Aristotle aphorism “The whole is more than the sum of the parts.”

People who scored highly on all three were more likely to walk down the aisle, but the so-called personality index did not appear to influence whether you might be living with someone outside of marriage.

Maybe there’s a hint there that people are less fussy with who they shack up with, compared with who they choose to marry?

Upping Your Rating

The researchers suggest the study implies you may be able to compensate for a deficiency in one desirable trait by “enhance their competitiveness in finding a suitable mate.”

Translate that as: “if you are not particularly attractive really work at having a pleasing personality and good grooming.”  Or as they say in the language of sociology:

“Increasing the value of the personal traits index by one standard deviation is associated with a 13.7 percent greater hazard of entering into marriage for men and a 13.2 percent greater hazard of entering into marriage for women,” the study reads.

Sounds a lot like the rules according to Helen Gurley Brown, like:

“What you have to do is work with the raw material you have, namely you, and never let up.”


“Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlepp.”

Motivate you to go out and have that manicure?


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