Before you get married, people ask you the same two questions on rotation.
‘Are you stressed?’ and ‘Are you excited? – to which the answers are yes and not really at this point I’m just tired and worried about table plans.
After you get married, it switches to one question, namely ‘Does it feel different now you’re married?’
In my case, I’d say yes. It does feel different. I’m not exactly sure why or how, but it feels more settled, calmer and more permanent. It’s a hard thing to explain or to quantify.
But according to new research, science actually suggests this hard to explain feeling is real. Being married does actually seem to change your relationship, making you more forgiving of your partner and giving you better self control.
Researchers at Tilburg University in the Netherlands recruited 199 newlywed couples, and measured how forgiving each partner was, by asking participants to rate their agreement with phrases like ‘When my partner wrongs me, my approach is just to forgive and forget.’
They also measured each partner’s self-control, by asking them to rate their agreement with phrases like ‘I am good at resisting temptation.’ The study was then repeated with the same couples year on year for four years.
The results showed that over the course of the study, the participants’ forgiveness and self-control levels increased.
Interestingly, the developments of forgiveness was not related to the development of self control, so while people become more self-controlled and forgiving over the course of a marriage, these developments aren’t correlated.
Perhaps these tendencies are promoted by the knowledge that when you’ve taken the plunge you don’t have much option other than to make things work or get divorced, or maybe it’s a simple as becoming more mature as your relationship progresses?
Either way, this is officially very good news for smug marries everywhere.