Could negative thoughts and actions be good for marriage?
As per common knowledge and the Law of attraction, we are supposed to behave and think positive towards our spouses if we are to have a good relationship. Well, James McNulty, a psychologist at the University of Tennessee seems to believe that some marriages thrive on conflict.
According to McNutty, the way happier couples handle their marriages may not necessarily work for less happier ones and believes that some marriages – especially those with recurrent serious problems – may benefit from negative behavior such as blaming the spouse, demanding a change in behavior or being stingy with forgiveness.
"Happy couples do behave in certain ways and think more positively, but this might not be creating their happiness necessarily, it may just reflect their happiness… Because when unhappy couples behave and think the same way, over time they actually seem to get worse." McNulty said
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Based on four studies which have been carried out over the last 10 years, couples who had low expectations about the success of their marriages did better when they encountered obstacles. On the other hand, positive expectations helped marriages only if the couples met these expectations.
McNutty equates this couples’ study with students. He says: "Some students are capable of getting A's, some students have to settle for B's and C's. If a student just doesn’t have the skills to get A's, they're probably going to be disappointed if they always expect to get A's. And so that student might do better to expect B's and C's."
He also advices those who have spouses with the habit of getting into trouble not to excuse their behavior as being caused by some external forces – say constant lack of attention with heavy workload. But if someone messes once, the benefit of doubt should fly.
So what should happen when solving a problem? Apparently, being slightly negative does the trick for couples that face problems. And McNutty says, there is evidence suggesting that negative exchanges motivates spouses to change and avoid bad behavior in days to come.
Talk of tough love :roll:
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