So much for wanting to have a so-called low maintenance partner…. It is very important to not let negativity build up in a relationship. In addition, the three authors conclude, people with the highest expectations of their marriage have the best marital outcomes. They recommend that,2
“In courtship, a couple may first establish a lower negativity threshold to deal with problems before they become too escalated. This would act to minimize the degree of reciprocity of negativity that leads to escalated conflicts and could be beneficial in the long-term stability and happiness of the relationship.”
I wish I had known this nineteen years ago when I got married. The study by Gottman et al. was released that year, in 1999. But at least I practiced what I did not know with certainty: I did not sweep my disappointments of my partner under the carpet.
The best-kept secret of love to me is, therefore, that interdependence in a relationship is normal and even desirable. It is more than okay to be vulnerable with each other. We should share our loneliness and let the other person know when we get hurt. Loving people do have an impact on each other and must be open to discussing this impact. Love is the most rewarding of all human experiences, the greatest predictor of happiness, and it is precisely for this reason that it takes humility, effort, and time.
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© 2018 Andrea F. Polard, PsyD. All Rights Reserved.
1. https://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_fry_the_mathematics_of_love?language=en 2. John Gottman, Catherine Swanson, and James Murray, The Mathematics of Marital Conflict: Dynamic Mathematical Nonlinear Modeling of Newlywed Marital Interaction. Journal of Family Psychology 1999, Vol. 13, No. 1,3-19.
Written By Andrea F. Polard Originally Appeared In Psychology Today