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Parents' Preferences in Children's Spouses

Marriage Material: What Everyone's Looking For in Your Mate

Not that we should date to please our parents, but lots of people consider mom and dad's approval to be high on their list of non-negotiables. A new study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences looked into what parents want compared to their offspring when choosing mates. And not surprisingly, they're completely different.

Both offspring and parents were asked about the same 13 traits: kindness, religiousness, personality, creativity, housekeeping skills, intelligence, earning capacity, wants kids, easygoing, genes, college graduate, attractiveness, and health. See how their top five values differed below.

Top Offspring Values

  • Attractiveness
  • Personality
  • Wants kids
  • Easygoing
  • Intelligence

Top Parent Values

  • Religiousness
  • Health
  • Housekeeping skills
  • Earning capacity
  • Kindness

The only finding that surprises me is that offspring want partners who want kids more than their parents. What surprised you?

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Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 5 years
I think the offsprings list is more "in the moment" and the parents reflect long term issues. Makes sense. As you get older you realize what fades and what matters long term.
zeze zeze 5 years
Religiousness Health College Graduate Earning capacity Wants Kids ...would be my family's list - I'm not really sure about the overlap with my own list, I can't really decide what is more important (which is probably why I am still single - I want it all).
snarkypants snarkypants 5 years
swap out "religiousness" with "political views", and you have my family.
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