Here's a Thursday newsflash that we're considering squirreling away into our "duh" files: Husbands and wives who do nice things for each other because they
have happier marriages than those who do them to get the nags the
off their backs. Yes. Science has found this to be so.
The finding emerged from a study of 266 men and women in relationships conducted by University of Rochester researcher Heather Patrick. It was presented at a psychology conference in May.
Patrick asked the men and women to document, for two weeks, why they engaged in "pro-relationship behavior" — actions, in other words, that were sacrifices or accommodations toward the other person. Like washing the dishes. Or cooking dinner. She discovered that those who did the things willingly and happily were more satisfied and committed to their relationships than those who did so because they were pressured or nagged to do so.
There are applications to this science, she explains in a press release. It "gives couples and psychology professionals insight into why some relationships aren't fulfilling even when everything looks OK on the surface," the release explains.
Simmering resentment is bad for a marriage — who knew?
— Rosie Mestel
P.S. And by the way, May was National Smile Month. Dang. We missed it.