From Barking up the Wrong Tree, What personality trait should you seek in a spouse?
While previous research points to a central role of neuroticism, our findings suggest that conscientiousness is the trait most broadly associated with marital satisfaction in this sample of long-wed couples.
But what the heck does conscientiousness mean? Let’s check wikipedia:
Conscientiousness is the trait of being painstaking and careful, or the quality of acting according to the dictates of one’s conscience. It includes such elements as self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, organization, deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting), and need for achievement. It is an aspect of what has traditionally been called character. Conscientious individuals are generally hard working and reliable. When taken to an extreme, they may also be workaholics, perfectionists, and compulsive in their behavior. People who are low on conscientiousness are not necessarily lazy or immoral, but they tend to be more laid back, less goal oriented, and less driven by success.
Conscientiousness = Character. So when evaluating whether to marry someone, it is useful to observe how s/he treats people, not just you. Are they honest? Loyal? How do they act when the going gets tough? Do their long-time friends and family seem to think highly of them? Those are things to look out for.
Pay attention to what they do. That’s who a person really is.