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Friday, May 6, 2011

Sidebar: Idealized

I have stumbled across yet another article that I find interesting which relates to the fact that I am getting married shortly: Want a Happier Marriage? Unrealistically Idealize Your Partner

This article reports on a recent study which drew the conclusion that unrealistically idealization of one's partner is correlated to higher marital satisfaction over the first three years of a first marriage.

They suggested that people may either distort their actual perception of their partner to more closely fit the concept of their ideal partner or they have adjust their concept of an ideal partner to match the qualities of their current partner.

Either of these possibilities are interesting.
But what is important here, as it always is, is that these data are there is no determining the causation.  The authors state that one alternate possibility is that people who are simply in more stable and satisfying relationships tend to have an idealized perception of their partner; thus, the causation flips from the headline which suggest that, as long as you force yourself to idealize your partner you'll have a happier marriage.

As always, my critical thinking and curious mind asks: how does this differ, if at all, when taking into account length of courtship and/or whether or not the couple was living together prior to marriage.  I expect that the trajectory of Chris' and my was different when we first started living together versus what it will be following the wedding.

Very interesting.


  1. What I am curious about is longitudinal data with this same study... does over-idealization of your partner increase satisfaction in the first 3 years of marriage, but eventually cause more deterioration once it is clear there was too much idealization going on? Whereas in couples with less idealization, were they somewhat less happy in the first 3 years, but also had an overall more stable trajectory?

    NERD ALERT. Maybe I could do research after all ;).

    TWO FREAKING WEEKS LOVE!!!!!! Time is about to completely FLY BY (I honestly don't even remember the two weeks before our wedding... I remember the MONTHS before, but the "right" before part... no memory. Relish it. Enjoy it. You'll only have these last 2 weeks left to plan a wedding... ever. ENJOY!!!)

  2. I know, B, so MANY questions about this study. I was totally with you, especially because of how relevant this kind of research is to my (and your, I suppose) daily life.

    And yes on the two weeks!!! It's about to really happen.....ack!!!!!!!