During the study, researchers used a photo of the newlywed spouse and many continuous positive and negative words to bring out an automatic attitude. Automatic attitudes are spontaneous reactions, which are different from conscious thoughts.
During their study, researchers looked for automatic attitudes in 135 heterosexual couples who were married in the previous six months.
They answered a questionnaire about marital satisfaction. For the next four years at six month intervals, each partner reevaluated his or her feelings about the marriage using the same questionnaire.
With the passage of time, the initial automatic attitudes slowly began to match up with their reported happiness or unhappiness. Within the four years of the study, twelve couples divorced.
It appears there is an expectation and pressure on the newlyweds to seem happy and euphoric in their relationships. "They just got married, spent thousands of dollars on their wedding, and committed to one another in public. They better be happy," researchers said.
"People are nervous about getting married, that's a normal response. Sometimes gut feelings are misleading because they are just the gut feelings that everybody has."
Most people feel that for a marriage to be successful, you need to find the perfectly compatible mate. This is just a fallacy. There will be incompatibilities in every couple. Successful marriages hinge on how well the couple has managed them.