A Surprising Predictor of Marriage Success

By March 2, 2015February 22nd, 2018Communication, In-laws & Family

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Did you know that how you talk about each other to your friends and family can predict your success as a couple?

A ten-year study at the University of Washington followed 95 couples beginning six months into their marriages. The initial hour-long interview together probed their relationship, their parents’ union and their philosophy of marriage.

More than what was actually said, researchers noted …

  • whether they expressed fondness and admiration for their partner,
  • if they talked about themselves as a unit,
  • if they finished each other’s sentences,
  • referenced each other when they told a story,
  • and whether what came to mind was pleasant.

Turns out that couples characterized by these ways of talking about one another and their relationship are far more likely to enjoy life-long love.

In fact, with this information alone, researchers can predict with 87% accuracy whether a couple will end up divorcing.

Think about that.

How you talk to others about your spouse and your relationship is a huge indicator of the state of your union. Even within just the first six months of marriage, the signs become pretty clear.

“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

That’s why this aspect of your relationship can always benefit from an infusion of quality time. Time and talk are always a winning combination.

The authors of the study found that couples who endure talk to others about their spouse as if they are wearing “rose-colored glasses.” Those who will eventually divorce talk to others about their spouse with cynicism.

How can this be?

It comes down to how our attitudes shape the way we view your spouse. If you give public praise to others about your spouse, you will inevitably look more favorably upon him or her yourself.

You will discover a deeper appreciation for your partner than you had before.

In fact, the more opportunities you find to talk positively about your partner when he or she isn’t present, the more likely you are to increase your loving attitudes and behaviors toward him or her. In other words, what you say about your spouse, for good or ill, shapes the way you think, feel, and act in your marriage.

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