Nairobi News


Explained: Why spouses end up resembling each other over time

Shared experiences, habits, being synchronised emotionally and physically are among the reasons couples who have spent many years together begin to look alike.

They unconsciously mirror each other’s speech and mannerisms so much that they could be taken for siblings.

They will adopt a similar gait in walking, take on one dietary regime and have daily routines that complement each other. It becomes difficult for outsiders to discern where their individualism begins and ends because their partnership has evolved. Visually, they would even start subtly resembling each other.

Nairobi News spoke to Nairobi-based pastor John Juma to get an insight.

“The Bible speaks of a couple becoming one flesh in marriage. Over time, a man’s blood circulates in the woman’s body and vice versa. This occurs when intimacy takes place and no conception happens. The circulating blood alters the DNA of an individual in miniscule ways and over the years, the couple begins resembling each other,” said Juma.

While there is no scientific research backing this opinion, it continues to be a widely accepted myth that sex alters the DNA of a married couple such that they begin resembling each other over time.

“When a woman and her husband become one body meaning, they have come into the agreement of love and their vows made before God and man, then their agreement contributes to their growing resemblance in character, how they speak, their mannerisms and how they do things. The nature of God shows itself in couples who love each other in strong marriages,” added pastor Juma.

What type of religious premarital counselling guidance is offered to couples that could contribute to their resembling each other down the line?

“We advise them to love each other. We tell the wives to submit to their husbands and the husband to love his wife, to respect the wife, lead and protect her. The wife does everything her husband needs. Those who love each other like this, their marriage and house will withstand for years to come. They will eventually begin resembling each other in character, speech and behaviour,” concluded pastor Juma.

While the exact mechanisms are complex and multifaceted, the phenomenon is well-documented in psychological and social research rather than in the realm of genetic science as seen with Robert Zanjoc’s Study on Facial Resemblance, which found that couples who were married for 25 years tended to have similar facial features and Silventoinen’s Environmental Influences research that found shared environmental factors play a significant role in the resemblance of spouses.