One Weird Test Could Change How Stable Your Marriage Seems

couple balancingHow stable is your marriage? That may depend on your standpoint -- literally, whether or not you're standing on one leg or two. It sounds crazy, but wait until you hear how the way people stand can change the way they see their relationship.


Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Waterloo in Canada wanted to learn more about something called embodied cognition, the connection between our physical condition and our emotions. So they tested how physical turbulence and romantic turbulence might be related.

People who had been in relationships for at least a year responded to a questionnaire. Some were seated at a normal chair and desk, and others sat at wobbly, unstable workstations. The surveys included questions about how satisfied they were with their partner and whether they thought their relationship would last.

The people at the wobbly workstations were much more likely to notice the instability in their relationships.

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The researchers tried a similar experiment on a larger sample of people who were in relationships. Each person had to answer questions while standing in front of a computer screen. Some stood on both feet, while others had to balance on one leg. Then they wrote their significant other a note telling them how they felt at that exact moment -- while still standing either on both feet or one foot. 

Lo and behold, people who were balancing on one foot were more likely to describe their relationship as less stable and less likely to last than people standing on both feet. And those notes they wrote their partners? They tended to be complaints about not doing household chores rather than love notes.

So the important thing to keep in mind here is that standing on one foot won't make your relationship unstable, obviously. But it sure does have an effect on how you perceive your relationship. And that makes us wonder, should you wait to reflect on the state of your romance until a moment when you are in a safe, warm, stable environment? Should you try to think about your relationship when your body is in a state that reflects the kind of partnership you want?

As wacky as it sounds, our perception can often turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your marriage could be warm and supportive because that's how you already see it -- so you behave like it is, and if your spouse is perceptive, he'll respond to that as well.

It's worth a try, I think!


Image via Erlo Brown/shutterstock

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