Is It True That Pessimists Are More Satisfied In Their Marriages?

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said that marriages destroy one’s ability to be amiable every day to the same human being. Apparently, it turns out that he was right. A study done by James McNulty at the University of Tennessee in 2010 revealed that couples who attempted to stay optimistic against their will while going through a rough marriage are more likely to ruin their relationship rather than saving it or making it better.

This finding was contrary to what we have been hearing from relationships experts and marriage counselors for ages. When it comes to resolving problems in marriages and relationships, we were advised to remain patient, be forgiving and even forgetting or ignoring our partner’s mishaps and flaws. But, what if we told you that the key to a healthy and long-lasting relationship depends on a healthy dose of pessimism? Yes, we are saying that being pessimistic is actually good for your marriage.  But, how true is it? Do pessimists really have a happy marriage than optimists?

Various statistics show that almost half of all couples who attended marriage counseling or therapies weren’t successful in overcoming their differences. This is especially true for couples who asked for help after their relationships or marriages reached a state of disrepair. In such circumstances, we must take into account of the possibility that being positive during hopeless situations can backfire on the marriage.

Mr. McNulty, who is a psychological scientist, after studying 82 newlywed couples during the first four years of their marriage found that optimism is only effective when a couple’s hopes and dreams are realized. These newlywed couples usually have the highest expectations, and when these newlyweds found that things didn’t happen according to their expectations, they experienced extreme and irrational disappointment. Consequently, McNulty said that couples who get married with a pessimistic attitude find more success and satisfaction in their marriages in the long-term. Why? Because their expectations were low when they first started. The research also found that an optimistic person has the tendency to cover up a partner’s character shortcomings can result in long-term problems and can cause relatively small issues to translate into a serious crisis.

Though, most therapists frequently suggest couples to stop blaming each other. But, McNulty reported that projecting an uncompromising and negative attitude while having a conversation or an argument happens to be an effective approach in influencing a spouse to make changes in his or her ways, which eventually will pave the way for a stable and stronger marriage.

When you’re married or in a relationship, remember, forgiveness doesn’t always work in marriages. In fact, it only works occasionally. For the most part, forgiveness only makes a partner to commit the same mistakes or the misdemeanor again and again. Couples, who refuse to forgive their partners for the mishaps they created in the relationship and stand their ground, have a much higher chance of experiencing the result they desire. However, there is one exception while speaking about the usefulness of negativity in a relationship. It’s sarcasm. Dealing with serious issues becomes problematic if a partner makes sneering comments, and it will lead to unsuccessful marriages.


Leave a Reply