The Importance of Mutual Goodwill

In the concluding discussion to an important Australian research review paper Robyn Parker (Why marriages last: A discussion of the literature. Australian Institute of Family Studies Research Paper Number 28, July 2002) makes some important comments about good quality marriages:

Optimism bias, Realistic Expectations and Positive Illusions about marriage: How to help couples acquire a realistic or reality-based sense of their relationship

Many couples on the verge of marriage may be ‘forgiven’ for having a highly biased view of their future marriage prospects because they are so caught up in the experience of love they feel towards their future partner.  This is why the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories include a measure of Idealistic Distortion, as well as a measure of Realistic Expectations.

Couple Conflict: Interpreting the reasons for any unhelpful behaviours or attitudes

When you are working with couples’ conflict resolution it might be helpful to encourage couples to think about how they interpret the reasons for any unhelpful behaviours or attitudes that their partner might be engaging in or expressing.

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