Want a Happy Marriage? Wear “Rose Colored Glasses”

Research by Sandra Murray, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, reveals that putting on “rose colored glasses” and idealizing our partner actually leads to more happiness and satisfaction in relationship.

In fact, the happiest couples focus on what’s right and not on what’s wrong. This is also known as the Pygmalion effect, the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. It’s a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Many years ago a study was done in schools where three teachers were told specific information about their students.

The first teacher was told her students had all tested with a high level IQ.

The second teacher was told her students were all very average.

The third teacher was told her students had learning disabilities and had below average IQ’s.

At the end of the school year the teacher who was told her students had “high level IQ’s” discovered that they all tested exceptionally well. And, conversely the teacher who held little hope for her students discovered her kids tested badly.  The teacher with the “average” students also discovered they performed as expected.

As mature adults, we get to choose our thoughts and beliefs so why not intentionally intend and expect the best out of ourselves, and our partners?  Why not wear “rose-colored glasses?”   

(One disclaimer here, this is not an invitation to go into denial or accept bad behavior or harmful situations. In the event you find yourself in an abusive relationship, you are advised to seek professional counsel immediately.)

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5 Responses to Want a Happy Marriage? Wear “Rose Colored Glasses”

  1. Christina says:

    Today I had coffe with a friend who has been happily married for 45 years (I have known her for 38 years, so I can attest to that!) When she talks about her husband, she is full fo praise for him and so grateful that he was so patient with her and alowed her to learn so much. She said: he is the most wonderful man on the whole earth – and she glowed……….
    When I said that he must think that of her, too, she replied, yes, yes, he says it, but it is he who is so wonderful!

  2. Nancy says:

    I recently received an email from a colleague speaking about his wife and he started the email with introducing himself as lucky husband, support and champion of all things…. and then filled in his wife’s name.

    I thought to myself wow what a gloriously loving husband. What a relationship they must have. I could feel the loving energy from the email and it was sincere.

    What a great reminder that at times we truly do serve ourselves far better if we choose to look through rose colored glasses by reminding ourselves to look at the wonderful qualities and traits instead of picking up or picking out the lesser traits that only get on our nerves if we make the choice to allow them to do so.

    I’m sure we’d love to have our partners look at us more favorably all of the time, so why not start with how we view them.

  3. Lebo says:

    Wow, what an insight.

  4. Wyndham says:

    This is SO incredibly true! I’ve been married to my husband for almost 8 years, and with him for 11 years. We’ve been through family crises, depression, we’ve opened and closes businesses together, bought and sold houses, made a large geographic move, changed careers, been through good and not-so-good financial times, and are now parents to a wonderful, happy, sweet, active, attention-needing 17-month old boy. Are there times when I’d like my husband to do dishes sooner? Sure. Are there an equal number of times when he’d like me for me to take shorter showers? Of course! And yes, we could focus on those things–and we do occasionally make that mistake, but I have to tell you, we bring each other so much happiness, love, comfort and support, that in the end we always come back to a simple little question–who cares? So what if he hates doing dishes more than I… so what if 10 minutes is my version of a “short” shower… harping on all of that is the fastest path to misery. The fact is, we both contribute a LOT to our life together in all kinds of wonderful and important ways, so the little stuff stays just that–little. Whether you call it rose-colored glasses or just accepting your spouse or lover or significant other for who they really are (“warts” and all) is inconsequential. What does matter is honoring the true substance of your love for each other, and letting the small stuff remain small. Build deep trust, learn to nurture each other in essential ways, and you’ll find that dirty dish rag on the just-cleaned kitchen counter won’t matter. Trust me, it works–even on our bad days, I’m the luckiest woman alive.

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