Monday, January 17, 2011

The Happy Marriage is the “Me” Marriage

I am always trying to think about ways to give my sons advice that will help them.  One area that is complicated to put into words is what makes a happy marriage. An article in the New York Times based on a new study hit the nail on the head for me.
The study’s authors looked not just at what makes a marriage last, but what makes it meaningful and satisfying.
In the article, the author, Tara Parker-Pope, describes the “Michelangelo effect”.  This is how close partners “sculpt” each other in ways that help them attain valued goals.
Research shows that the when individuals in a relationship accumulate knowledge and experiences, they become part of a process called “self-expansion”.  The more self-expansion that people experience from their partner, the more committed and satisfied they are in the relationship.
These are the types of questions that couples were asked: How much has being with your partner resulted in your learning new things? How much has knowing your partner made you a better person?
“It’s not that the these couples lost themselves in the marriage; instead they grew in it,” states Parker-Pope.
It’s actually pretty obvious that if you are growing as a person, you will be more satisfied and more committed to the relationship.  But, I never really thought about that concept with relationships.  It was more clear to me as an individual and expanding on my own.
I think you will enjoy this New York Times article, “The Happy Marriage is the “Me” Marriage”.