'The Bachelor' Chris Soules has chosen: What makes relationships last?

Season 19 of 'The Bachelor' concluded with yet another proposal. How likely is it to last, and what factors predict successful marriages?

Rick Rowell/AP/ABC/File
Chris Soules (pictured) recently proposed to Whitney Bischoff in season 19 of "The Bachelor." Only 5 of the nearly 30 couples are still together.

On "The Bachelor"’s Monday night Season 19 finale, Chris Soules proposed to Whitney Bischoff at his family farm in Iowa.

“It's not work for us. It's natural, and it's like we both want the same thing, and it feels so right, and it feels so perfect, and that's what I want for the rest of my life. I love you," Mr. Soules told Ms. Mischoff before he proposed, reported EOnline.  

But, will that love be enough to make the relationship last?

Unfortunately, the track record of both “The Bachelor” and its offshoot, “The Bachelorette,” does not reflect in favor of lasting relationships, let alone marriage. Over the course of 12 years and nearly 30 combined seasons, only five couples from the reality shows are still together. Almost two-thirds of the relationships ended within a year of the shows’ finales.

Sean Lowe, from “Bachelor” season 17, married contestant Catherine Giudici, and thus far they have been one of the few successful couples. After celebrating their one year wedding anniversary in January, they weighed in on why they think “Bachelor(ette)” relationships often fail.

“It makes perfect sense!” Mr. Lowe told Us Magazine. “You spend just a small amount of time with that person before getting engaged, which sounds nuts. I still can't believe that we got engaged at the end of that thing.” He continued: “You leave the show, you get into the real world and find out like, 'Oh, crap! Being in a relationship isn't always easy and it actually takes work.”

According to the website, ScienceofRelationships.com, the main reasons reality show relationships do not last is because they are too romantic and too short for couples to develop a relationship foundation that will last once the cameras stop rolling. Talking about groceries and laundry evokes much less romance than exotic vacations and sunset yacht cruises. The level of romance produced in the show creates strong feelings of love, but it is not sustainable and often leads to unrealistic expectations.

“These couples often attempt to recapture the initial excitement that drew them together, but if they fail, they may re-evaluate the relationship and focus even more on their partner’s flaws, which can spell the end of the relationship,” ScienceofRelationships reports.

So if speed and romance are not the answer to a lasting relationship, what factors can determine a successful union?

In a study called “The Love Lab,” researcher John Gottman at the University of Washington analyzed the ways in which newlyweds interacted. He designed a “lab” that mimicked a beautiful bed and breakfast retreat. He then watched couples interact, and used these interactions to predict the success of their marriages.

By looking at two traits – kindness and generosity – he and his colleagues were able to predict whether a couple would remain together after six years with 94 percent accuracy.

“There’s a habit of mind that [successful couples] have . . . which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. [Non-successful couples] are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes,” Gottman explained in an interview with The Atlantic.

Gottman continues to say that extending kindness is not always easy. For many people, it is something that has to be practiced, especially in moments of anger or conflict when being kind to a partner is the last thing someone wants to do. However, it is in these moments that it matters the most.

“[Successful couples] tend to think about kindness as a muscle. They know that they have to exercise it to keep it in shape. They know, in other words, that a good relationship requires sustained hard work,” The Atlantic reports.

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