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Why do Couples look Alike after Many Years of Marriage

Updated on August 24, 2014

A couple laughing

A couple laughing
A couple laughing | Source

Reasons married couples seem to resemble each other

Some reasons why couples in long marriages seem to look similar include.

1 they look identical due to shared emotions

2 happiness in marriage could be a determiner

3 longevity in marriage is the main reason

4 having initial similarities in physical features

5 apathy is another all important reason

6 Laughter, joy, sadness are some reason this strange phenomenon exists.

7 Subconsciously mimicking gestures, gesticulations and mannerisms of a partner

Have you ever wondered why wedded couples look alike after many years of marriage? I have with good reason because for many years the strange phenomenon seemed glaring to me and I wondered why other people hadn’t noticed.

It seems scientist have also noticed this strange anomaly between two people have different DNA sequence or biological kinder ship looking alike after living together for many years.. These similarities seem to happen between married couples who have lived together upwards of twenty years.

The look alike syndrome happens both in Caucasian, Asian, African and even people of African descent including mixed marriages. Such couples initially didn’t have any semblance with their spouse when they got married but develop similarities after many years of marriage.

The resemblance doesn’t stop there you will find such couples having the same mannerism, gesticulation, humor and posture. One theory is that people subconsciously seek partners bearing identical features with them or their siblings.

Young married couples showed chanced similarity or no similarity at all while those married twenty five showed definite similarities in their facial structures. The changes in there faces were subtle enough to appear identical to their spouse.

Old couple in love

Old couple in love
Old couple in love | Source

Identical images

Baby image
Baby image | Source
Baby image
Baby image | Source

Factors that contribute to couples resembling each other

Scientific study

According to a scientific journal some couples that live together for a long time are more likely to develop facial markers at the same place. These wrinkles give similar characters and expressions because of the shared joys and pain both of them experience.

A study carried out by psychologist from the University of Michigan on why some married couples appear to have remarkable resemblance produced interesting results. The experiment was done alongside graduate students such as S. Murphy, Paula Niedenthal and Pamela Adelman including an additional one hundred and ten participants.

The experiment was done by presenting a number of face photographs in a random way; the photographs had blackened backgrounds so they have uniformity. The participants were told to match the face of the man with the woman who resembles each other the most.

About twenty four of the photographs had images of the couple when they had just newly married while another twenty four were photographs of the same couple twenty five years later. The couple’s analyzed were mostly caucasian and they have had their silver anniversary and liver or are based in Michigan or Wisconsin.

The experiment was done only on facial parameters and the amazing result showed that the married couples seem to have grown more identical in facial features over the years. The participants with an incredible accuracy could easily match each couple with relative ease.

Another study at the university of Ontario similar experiments using old couples determined that romantic partners who have a similar genetic profile counted for a third of those selected. In order word people are subconsciously selecting mates that have similar genetic profiles than we think.

This might account for men searching for similar qualities with their mom and ladies finding partners that remind them of dad.

Why couples look alike


Praying | Source

Spiritual reasons

Some people have brought forth spiritual reasons as factors that contribute to couples looking alike, they say shared religious belief might be a factor. The idea is controversial and not based on any scientific evidence but they feel there are strong connections body, spirit and soul.

Some spiritualist believes that marriage is actually a spiritual journey that goes way beyond the physical joining of two individuals as husband and wife. This to them might be the reason some couples start resembling each other.

They develop apathy

Apathy can be said to be one major reason married couples start resembling each other after several years of marriage. The apathy is borne out of shared experiences which could include anxiety, happiness, sadness and stress.

This cocktail of emotion when shared over the years tends to have similar effect on their facial features making them look more alike. According to doctor Zajonc this shared experiences affect facial features like laugh lines or narrow lips.

Things that might cause couples to look alike

What are the reasons you think makes couples look alike

See results

Happy Couple

Happy couple
Happy couple | Source

Marital happiness

It seems that married couples who live happy lives tend to have more similarities than those with less than happy lives. The more positive experiences that add joy to a couple the more resemblance they seem to have. In the case of young married couples there was no remarkable similarity in their facial features as seen in couples who have been married upwards of 25 years.

The doctor was able to determine similarity in the facial feature of couples married over twenty five years and linked one of the reasons to shared experiences. Other ‘reasons were happiness in the family, closeness of the couple, experiencing the same emotions, joy and sadness.

Other factors

Some other theories put forward as the reason married couple who live together for many years have marked resemblance include happiness, having same disposition. Others are coming from similar backgrounds and environment, same sense of humor, apathy and similar diets.

Subconsciously they mimic their partners going through shared experiences which affect their features enough to determine a similarity. Scientists are in agreement that our emotion could gradually sculpture facial features with time.

Longevity in marriage

Couples that stay long in marriage star looking the same.
Couples that stay long in marriage star looking the same. | Source

Shared experiences

 adult people woman athlete athletic background
adult people woman athlete athletic background | Source

Life experiences

Shared life experiences is one of the reasons coupes develop similar facial features, because muscle in the face undergo same forces. Being of the same religion or faith has nothing to do with the changes the face goes through as the couple ages. Scientists and researcher are of divergent views concerning this perplexing phenomenon.


Some theories look not only at the life style of the couple but they feel eating practically the same meals might have something to do with it. The theory might not be far fetched because the effect of certain nutrients or eating habits affects us physically and health wise.

A glaring change in diet of some animals under scientific study or change of environment sometimes changes the appearance of some wildlife. The couple virtually living the same life having same experiences and emotions including same diet might be the reason for the resemblance.

Things that might cause couples to look alike

Same mannerism
Same diet
Same life expirience
Same religious belief
have apathy
Practice same tradition
Personal loss

Same mannerisms

In my own opinion I think the reason married couples after staying together for over twenty five years start resembling each other is because of their mannerism. Mannerism is a habitual gesture of speaking or behavior that mimics the other person; it can be copied or learnt subconsciously over time.

I believe couples who have lived together for so long subconsciously adapt the mannerism of each other and this translates to physical movement, the smile and other behaviors. Even the face isn’t left out and adapts the features like wrinkles from smiling or a frown.


Scientists are just getting into grips on while some long married couples start resembling reach other while some say its all a figment of our imagination. But then why did the one hundred and ten volunteers manage to accurately pair couples by their photographs.

I have been intrigued by this phenomenon long before I read about the university of Michigan experiment. I think the answer lies within all of the factors I have earlier discussed like spiritualism, same mannerism, and same diet and life experiences. The couple develops lots of love and affection including deep apathy; they share in the sad moments and happiness together making them more alike over time.


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I don't think the elder couple in this last photo look alike at all other than both have white hair and they're aged. Those characteristics could apply to all older people.

      I've read years ago about people who are married a long time resembling each other, and then it was thought to be related to their similar attitudes and facial expressions that developed with time spent together. Even friends who are especially close will often finish each others sentences.

      I have also read how very close married couples for only a little while that are pregnant often share what the woman is going through. He will have morning sickness and heart burn and all the lovely things that sometimes go with pregnancy. I actually knew a couple that experienced this phenomenon. He was sick several mornings a week and she wasn't! He had all the unpleasant affects and she had none!!

      I have also read how we are attracted to begin with to people with similar eyes. People who communicate strongly with their eyes will often be drawn to people like themselves, for example, but of course my article (How Do People Choose Their Husbands or Wives? Your Nose Chooses Your Mate -- Chemistry Is More Important Than You Thought) about what really draws 2 people together has the last word on attraction. ;)

      Very interesting article and well written.