THE BLOG
06/12/2013 04:41 pm ET Updated Aug 12, 2013

What's a Yearbook Picture Got to Do With Staying Married?

It's yearbook time again, and if your child's bringing one home you might be tempted to pull yours out to reminisce about the good old days. If you do, take a good look at your photo. Were you smiling? Now check your spouse's (or exes). What was his/her expression? And what about your kids?

Hopefully you discover a lot of smiling, because research suggests the greater the smile, the greater your chance at a successful marriage. And, if you married someone who didn't smile, sorry to report your chance of divorce is five times greater.

What's a smile got to do with it? In three separate studies, researchers found the degree to which a person smiled (during childhood and into early adulthood) was "potentially indicative of underlying emotional dispositions that have direct and indirect life consequences."

In other words, since smilers tend to be happier, more social and emotionally stable they are more likely to be successful at relationships. And, since smiling is contagious, they are also more likely to spread the joy to their partner. Quite simply, the school pictures are a good barometer of happiness and attitude.

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