The Art of Choosing
The Art of Choosing
The couples who had married for love and been together less than a year averaged a score of 70 points out of a possible 91 on the love scale, but these numbers steadily fell over time. The love couples who had been married ten years or longer had an average score of only 40 points. In contrast, the couples in arranged marriages were less in love at the outset, averaging 58 points, but their feelings increased over time to an average score of 68 at the ten or more years mark.
What’s the secret behind the long term success of arranged marriages?
They have to work at it. They don’t passively rely on “magic” and intense emotion. They have to spend a lot of time thinking about how to make it work.
Don’t Fix The Bad. Increase The Good.
Look at your spouse as something you purchased “as-is.” Research shows trying to change them doesn’t work: when participants (N = 160) focused their relationship improvement attempts on changing the partner, individuals reported more negative improvement strategies, lower improvement success, and, in turn, more negative relationship evaluations… results suggest that targeting the partner may do more harm than good despite that relationship evaluations pivot on whether the partner produces change.
These problems don’t go away yet many couples keep arguing about them year after year.
Most marital arguments cannot be resolved. Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind – but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage. So if you can’t change them and they won’t change you, how can you reduce the bad stuff?
You can’t. But you don’t need to.
The best relationships are more about increasing the good than reducing the bad.
Forget Romance. Think Excitement.
Think a pleasant date night is all it takes to keep love alive?
Researchers did a 10 week study comparing couples that engaged in “pleasant” activities vs “exciting” activities. Pleasant lost.
Those who had undertaken the “exciting” date nights showed a significantly greater increase in marital satisfaction than the “pleasant” date night group…
Why would doing anything exciting have such a big effect on a relationship?
Because we’re lousy about realizing where our feelings are coming from.
Excitement from any source will be associated with the person you’re with, even if they’re not the cause of it.
As happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky explains, excitement experienced mutually brings the tingles back.