You have probably heard the saying that couples that have been married for a long time eventually start to look like each other. While this saying is largely based on simple observation and is frequently not true, some researchers have gone a step further to suggest that people unwittingly choose a life partner who is likely to have a comparable life expectancy and share similar risks of illnesses – such as high blood pressure or heart disease. They contend that this may explain why long-term couples often suffer from the same ailments in later life and have similar life expectancies.
Could this observation be due purely to chance? The researchers suggest that the similarities are greater than would be expected by chance. As many ailments are not visible when most people choose their partners, the experts say the finding is most likely a result of choosing a mate with shared lifestyle factors that are genetically linked to disease.
It is still uncertain how strong the role of genetics is in these observations. Long-term studies that follow hundreds of thousands of couples from the moment they meet until later in life when they develop disease will be needed to shed more light.