What is the key to matrimonial bliss? According to a study by business psychologist Dale Griffin from the University of British Columbia, the key is to have an idealized view of your spouse. Griffin’s research studied new marriages over a five-year period of time. The study took into account whether couples remained together, and who was happy and had satisfaction from their marriage.

According to Griffin, “The key finding is that the average person becomes less and less satisfied over five years.” For those who have an idealized view of their spouse, they were still satisfied with their spouse and marriage. The idealized view of their spouse caused them to overlook or ignore flaws, seeing their spouse in an unrealistically positive light.

Griffin’s research found that when one sees the best in their spouse, they are more forgiving, and that forgiveness is “significant” according to Griffin. “Seeing the best in your partner actually leads you, our research finds, to be more forgiving when they do something wrong.” Griffin goes on to say, “we see these people who are having the successful marriages, who are idealizing, are really very forgiving in how they attribute problems.” If an idealist spouse did something wrong, the idealist was more likely to put blame on factors other than the spouse.

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