The news: Did you just receive a big promotion at work? Earn the praise of your boss? Thank your spouse: New research suggests that a conscientious spouse has a positive impact on income, promotions, and job satisfaction.
The science: A recent study from the of Washington University in St. Louis examined over 4,500 married people between 2005 and 2009, 22.7% of which lived in single-income homes. The researchers examined whether "Big Five personality traits" — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism — of participants' spouses related to three measures of participants' occupational success: job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of being promoted.
Ultimately, the study found that "partner conscientiousness predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion." Conscientious spouses were able to take on household tasks and create a satisfying home life, enabling employees to focus more on work, regardless of gender, in a domestic division of labor. They also display "pragmatic behaviors that their mates emulate," the study concludes.
"The saying 'Behind every great man there's a great woman' indicates that one's chances of success increase if one has a good partner," the authors conclude. "Dismantling the antiquated gender imbalance, we found that the reach of one's spouse extends beyond the immediate relationship and into the workplace, for both women and men."
So what does this mean? Having a supportive and conscientious significant other allowed employees to enjoy their home life, which translates into a better performance at work. This conclusion may seem intuitive —when you're not a crying, frantic wreck on the inside due to a bad relationship, you're able to focus more on work — but it also highlights the importance of mutual respect and support in building a happy and prosperous household.
Think twice before swiping left. Our culture is becoming increasingly focused on finding hook-ups. Maybe we should spend time searching for the right person instead, because science says it will quite literally pay dividends down the road.