Have you ever seen another married couple and thought to yourself, “Wow, they actually sort of look alike?” Well, you're not crazy—in fact, you're right.
A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics suggests that spouses resemble one another because they are from the same ancestry. So essentially, couples are related even before they say “I do.” Surprising, we know.
For the study, researchers examined the genomes of 879 spousal pairs from three generations of white people with Northern and Western European, Southern European, and Ashkenazi lineages. The study showed that each group tended to marry people with the same genes but that the tendency lessened with each generation.
This could be because over time, people began to look for love beyond traditional settings, as marrying out of affection—rather than necessity—became the norm. Slowly, individuals started to move away from home, live in a variety of different locations, and even experiment with online dating.
While the idea that you and your spouse could be related is an unsettling thought, there is a sweeter explanation for your look-alike tendencies.
Older research suggests that spouses start to look alike because they adopt each other’s mannerisms. Since they share the same emotions so often, couples begin to experience the same “subtle shifts in facial wrinkles and other facial contours." Because you and your spouse laugh at the same TV shows, tear up over the same books, or furrow your brow in the same way, your wrinkle lines are similar.
This totally makes sense, as it often holds true that the more you spend time with someone, the more you become like that person. And who is by your side more often than your other half?
We have to admit--we prefer this much more romantic explanation to the idea of being related. Don’t you?