19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said on the topic of marriage, "It destroys one's nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being." Turns out he was right.
A recent study conducted by James McNulty at the University of Tennessee revealed that couples who force themselves to stay optimistic during a rough marriage are more likely to destroy the relationship than save it. This is contrary to what we have been hearing from marriage counselors for ages. We are told to be patient, forgiving and even forgetful of our partner's mishaps and flaws, but what if the key to a healthy and honest relationship lies in a healthy dose of pessimism instead? Do pessimists really have a better shot at a happy marriage than optimists?
Statistics show that half of all couples who attend therapy fail to overcome their differences—especially those who enter once the relationship's reached a state of disrepair. As such, we must consider the possibility that staying positive when times get bleak could very well backfire on the marriage. What To Do If Your Spouse Is Depressed
McNulty, a psychological scientist, studied 82 newlywed couples over the first four years of their marriage and discovered that optimism only pays off when a couple's dreams and hopes translate into reality. When these newlyweds experienced anything but their highest expectations, they suffered extreme and often irrational disappointment. As a result, McNulty claims that couples who approach marriage with a more pessimistic attitude end up experiencing more success and satisfaction in the long run, since their expectations were low to begin with.