Optimism Won’t Destroy Your Marriage But It May Prolong a Bad One

A new study shows that an optimistic wife may lead to marital unhappiness. Say what now? Looking on the bright side and holding out hope can lead to a miserable marriage? How is that possible?

Researchers followed 501 newlywed couples over four years, and discovered that “wives who predicted the greatest increases in satisfaction actually had the greatest declines in satisfaction."


Actually -- being an eternal optimist going through a divorce, it makes a lot of sense to me.

So there are two possible theories here: One is that some women just have unrealistic expectations, in which case they’re never going to be happy with any man. Prince Charming only exists in fairy tales, sweetheart.

The second one is that optimism doesn’t necessarily lead to a bad marriage -- it just keeps a bad marriage going.

An optimistic wife will take the negative things and turn them into positives. She will say, “I’m glad we don’t fight,” instead of, “We never reach a mutual agreement on anything.” She will say, “He’s such a good provider,” instead of, “I really wish he were home more often to help out or just spend time with me.”

More from The Stir: 10 Things to Say If You Want to Destroy Your Marriage

The optimist will always see light on the horizon, and on the bad days she’ll hope for a better tomorrow, and on the good days she’ll think things are finally looking up, and she will be grateful for it.

A wife who is always looking for the silver lining in the storm clouds of her marriage will not even consider divorce for a long, long time, because she’s so convinced that if she just tries a little harder, waits a little longer, shows a little more patience and grace and forgiveness … then everything will turn out just fine in the end.

Nope, optimism won’t destroy a marriage -- but it just may keep a bad one going long past its expiration date.

Do you consider yourself an optimist? Do you think your outlook affects your marriage?


Image via Henti Smith/Flickr

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