Can you think of a better motivation to keep your relationship strong? These findings raise the following questions, if successful relationships are the key to our happiness, then why does the divorce rate remain at 50%? And why does the formula for achieving successful relationships continue to confound many of us? It seems to me that this is the one ingredient of our happiness that we can control just by learning the skills that will help us to be happy in our relationships.
But the incredible power of relationships was validated by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley who proved the value of “we-ness” thinking and language in relationships. Couples who routinely use pronouns such as “we”, “our” and “us” behave more positively toward each other and show less psychological stress. So, to increase our happiness, all we have to do is join together with our partners and think and act as a unit. Last year I wrote about the need for a couple to see their relationship as its own distinct entity –made up of both individuals but with it’s own personality and behavior. As with a three-legged stool, relationships require all three legs to be strong in order to deal with life’s challenges. The couple needs to decide the rules and expectations of the relationship and take responsibility for making it work.
This research validates what marital therapists have known for years. Not only does creating a marital unit with your spouse lead to a higher degree of marital satisfaction and less marital conflict but it also is the key to our individual happiness.