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Hope College’s Love Professor Launches Marriage Study


It’s a question as old as love itself: Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have?

That’s a mystery that’s haunted poets and inspired killer pop songs for time immemorial. Now, it’s getting the full academic treatment, courtesy of Hope College Assistant Psychology Professor Carrie Bredow.

She’s no stranger to love research. In years past, she’s studied the market value of the singles’ pool and science of first hookups. Now, she’s spent nearly two years studying the “fundamental disconnect” between what we say we want in a spouse and what we get.

“We’re trying to go beyond what they say that they want,” Bredow told MLive.

“Maybe it’s because part of what is guiding our behavior is unconscious. What we’re most interested in is whether they can actually predict future behavior.”

Bredow and her students are developing and testing questions that measure people’s unconscious preferences for spouses — rather than what they say they want. So far, the results are “exciting” and have the potential to predict how relationships will work, she said.

The work follows her study last year, “Chasing Prince Charming” that found that unrealistic expectations may make people delay marriage.

She’s hoping to expand the project for 10-20 years to get a better glimpse into how relationships evolve and what happens after, as the song says, fools fall in love.

Is it fun? Sure. But it’s another kind of marriage — mixing real-world and serious academics — that sets Hope College and Michigan’s 15 independent colleges and universities apart.

Students are a vital part of Bredow’s research, which is common among Michigan’s independents. Class sizes are small, allowing students to form lifelong bonds with award-winning expert as well as a nurturing network of alumni who help after graduation.

All the schools emphasize community over crowds and help students forge their own paths.

It’s an experience that simply doesn’t exist at big state schools.

And despite what you may have heard, independents are often less expensive and boast higher four-year graduation rates that big universities.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.