Couples in Fort Myers probably won’t find it surprising that researchers are studying what makes marriage successful or what may increase the chance of divorce. A recent study, however, goes beyond common considerations such as finances and shared interests to find out what you think, or what you say you think, you feel is not only important to your relationship. It could help with dispute resolution during a divorce.
The study took place at Florida State University over the course of four years. The results of the study indicate that conscious opinions don’t affect a couple’s happiness in the long run. Instead, unconscious feelings were a better indicator of whether a couple’s marriage would last.
Researchers recorded conscious feelings by asking each person a series of relationship-based questions. The purpose of the questions was to get participants to rate their satisfaction with their spouse and relationship on a scale of one to 10. Researchers then gathered information about unconscious feelings by showing individuals a picture of their spouse or a control picture of some other individual. The participants were then asked to react to words with either negative or positive connotations.
According to researchers, people who reacted more to negative words after seeing a spouse’s picture may harbor unconscious negative feelings about their relationships. The study indicated that those negative feelings were a better predictor of the couple’s future happiness and marital success than the questionnaire that asked whether they were happy.
One of the research leaders points out that understanding the impact of unconscious emotions may help people who want to resolve problems. Whether you are attempting to resolve marital issues or achieve a civil and cooperative divorce, understanding the depth of your emotions and how they can impact your decisions is a good first step.
Source: The Conversation, “Gut feelings could foretell future marriage happiness,” Annabel Bligh, Nov. 28, 2013