The more we believe a partner is capable of change, the happier we are in our relationships.
On this Valentine’s Day, did your sweetheart take the time to let you know how special you really are? If the one you love usually forgets Valentine’s Day, but this year makes a romantic effort, you should give him credit for trying. It turns out the thought really counts.
A new Northwestern University study shows the more you believe your partner is capable of change and perceive he or she is really trying to improve, the more secure and happy you will feel in your relationship. That is true even if you think your partner could still do more to be a better partner.
“Many of us tend to under-appreciate our partner’s efforts to improve the relationship, simply because we do not have enough faith in those attempts,” said Chin Ming Hui, the lead author of the study and fourth-year psychology graduate student at Northwestern University. “When we see those efforts in a positive light, we can enjoy our relationship much more.”
In this study, romantic couples were separated and asked to rate how much their partner was trying to improve his or her relationship-oriented characteristics, such as patience, understanding and being a good listener.
Three months later, the same couples were asked to rate their partner’s current standing on these characteristics and their overall feelings about the relationship. The results of the study? The less you think your partner is capable of changing, the greater the chance your partner’s efforts – no matter how sincere – will fail to improve the relationship.
Our Thoughts Truly Become Our Reality
“If you don’t believe that your partner is capable of changing his or her fundamental characteristics, even when he or she is working hard to try to improve your relationship, you can actually end up discounting these efforts,” said Dr. Daniel Molden, professor of psychology at Northwestern.
But don’t despair! There is good news for those who may be skeptical of a partner’s ability to change. With the proper self-awareness and some effort, you truly can change your thoughts – in an authentic and genuine way – to see that your partner’s effort does matter and that your relationship can truly improve.
“A secret to building a happy relationship is to embrace the idea that your partner can change, to give him or her credit for making these types of efforts and to resist blaming him or her for not trying hard enough all of the time,” Molden said.
Happy Valentine’s Day from The Healthy Mind!!!
February 14, 2012
The Healthy Mind Network
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