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The Soulmate Trap

Why Embracing Agency-Based Love is the Surest Path to Creating a Flourishing Marriage

View the full report here:

View the press release here:

This report presents extended analysis from a recent study involving 615 couples (1,230 individuals) across the United States and Canada. The report challenges the notion that loving and lasting relationships are founded on the idea of a soulmate love. Here are some of the report’s findings on spouses in high-connection marriages:

Strong Commitment

  • Spouses in high-connection marriages have a nearly three times higher average percentile score on commitment to their relationship than do spouses in low-connection marriages. 


  • The average percentile score on personal virtues, such as other-centeredness and compassion, is nearly three times higher for spouses in highly connected marriages compared to those in low-connection marriages.

Proactive Behaviors Development

  • High-connection marriages have more than three times high scores on proactive behaviors than low connection couples, specifically in spending meaning time together, doing acts of kindness for each other, and forgiving offenses in their marriage.  

Better Communication and Problem-solving Skills

  • Spouses in high-connection marriages score nearly twice as high as spouses in low-connection marriages on relationship maintenance behaviors, such as addressing problems and finding ways to strengthen their relationship together.

Happier Marriages

  • Spouses in high-connection marriages score more than twice as high as spouses in low-connection marriages on their ratings of their current levels of life satisfaction and the amount of meaning and purpose they have in their lives.

About the Authors

Jason S. Carroll, Ph.D. is the Family Initiative Director at the Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and has been a Professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University for the last 23 years.

Adam M. Galovan, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta.

David G. Schramm, Ph.D. is a Family Life Extension Specialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Utah State University.

About Wheatley Institute

Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University engages students, scholars, thought leaders, and the public in research-supported work that fortifies the core institutions of the family, religion, and constitutional government.