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1 Surprising Predictor of Marriage Success

I really love today’s post from Les and Leslie Parrott. There is a huge difference between venting your marital frustrations to a friend, and shredding your spouse’s character and dignity. There are few things that concern me more for a marriage than when I hear one spouse belittling their spouse, and this article explains why that is! So how do you talk about your spouse when they’re not around? 

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 2:29

Did you know that how you talk about each other to your friends and family and even strangers can predict your success as a couple?

That’s what researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle report. A ten-year study followed 95 couples beginning six months into their marriages.
The initial hour-long interview together probed their relationship, their parents’ union and their philosophy of marriage.

More than what was actually said, researchers noted whether they expressed fondness and admiration for their partner, if they talked about themselves as a unit, if they finished each other’s sentences, referenced each other when they told a story, and whether what came to mind was pleasant.

Turns out that couples characterized by these ways of talking about one another and their relationship are far more likely to enjoy life-long love.

In fact, with this information alone, researchers can predict with 87% accuracy whether a couple will end up divorcing.

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Think about that.

How you talk to others about your spouse and your relationship is a huge indicator of the state of your union. Even within just the first six months of marriage, the signs become pretty clear.

The authors of the study found that couples who endure talk to others about their spouse as if they are wearing “rose-colored glasses.” Those who will divorce talk to others about their spouse with cynicism.

How can this be?

It comes down to how our attitudes shape the way we view your spouse. If you give public praise to others about your spouse, you will inevitably look more favorably upon him or her yourself. You will discover a deeper appreciation for your partner than you had before. In fact, the more opportunities you find to talk positively about your partner when he or she isn’t present, the more likely you are to increase your loving attitudes and behaviors toward him or her.

In other words, what you say about your spouse, for good or ill, shapes the way you think, feel, and act in your marriage.

Reflect and Respond

As you review the past 48 hours, how would you characterize the way you talk to others about your spouse or your marriage?