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Five personality changes a newlywed couple experiences in the first year

Newlywed couples will often experience five big personality changes within their very first year of marriage, a new study has found.

The research uncovered trends in the personality changes of young married couples and found that those meaningful adjustments do happen early on and over a relatively short period of time.

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A number of common personality changes came up with the 169 heterosexual newlywed couples that were part of the study – regardless of their age, demographics, length of relationship or their living status before marriage.

The biggest changes within the couple centered on openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. 

New research, led by psychologist Justin Lavner at the University of Georgia, uncovered trends in the personality changes of young married couples

The study, which was recently published in Developmental Psychology, was led by psychologist Justin Lavner at the University of Georgia.

They surveyed the 169 couples at three points in the first 18 months of their marriage with the questions designed to measure the levels of the Big Five personality traits. 


1. Husband and wife both become less agreeable

2. Women will become less open

3. Men will become less extroverted

4. Wives become less neurotic

5. Husbands becomes increasingly conscientious

*According to psychologist Justin Lavner’s study at the University of Georgia   

The research found that both the male and female will often become less agreeable as they navigate the first year of their marriage.

It also found that women will become less open, whereas men will become less extroverted in those early months.  

Wives are also said to become less neurotic within the first year, while the husband becomes increasingly conscientious and more emotionally stable. 

The study author noted that the results indicated ‘significant’ changes in personality over the course of the first year.   

‘These results did not differ by spouses’ age, demographics, relationship length prior to marriage, cohabitation prior to marriage, initial marital satisfaction, or parenthood status,’ the finding stated.

‘Initial levels of personality as well as changes in personality over time were associated with spouses’ marital satisfaction trajectories. 

‘Taken together, these findings indicate that newlywed spouses’ personalities undergo meaningful changes during the newlywed years and these changes are associated with changes in spouses’ marital satisfaction.’


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