Why New Research Shows that Compassion is the Most Important Quality in Happy Marriages
A compelling new study from the University of Rochester has found that compassion may be the most crucial building block for a stable marriage. The researchers found that when partners performed acts of service for one another (such as putting an extra blanket on their partner during a chilly night), their emotional health benefited from the act…even if the other partner was not aware of their sweet gesture, and hence unable to thank them or praise them for their behavior.
“According to this study, acting compassionately is its own reward,” says Dr. Laura Berman, popular sex therapist, T.V. personality, radio host and New York Times bestseller. “This is an important finding because couples often think that they have to wait for their partner’s participation before they can start making changes in their relationship, but as this research shows, when you give from the heart, you reap the benefits even if your partner doesn’t praise you for it.”
However, performing acts of service is just the beginning. In Dr. Berman’s new book Quantum Love, she outlines exactly how people can dramatically change their relationships, without waiting for their partner’s assistance (and even without their partner’s knowledge!).
“We are all made of energy,” says the sex therapist. “And we are all impacted by the energy of people around us, particularly the energy of the people we are most intimate with, such as our romantic partners. This can be a bad thing, such as when your partner comes home and ruins your happy mood with his grumpy demeanor. However, it can also be an amazing gift, because it means that you have the power to impact their mood in return. If you can set an intention to hold a state of loving-kindness and openness even when your partner is snarky and grouchy, you can actually uplift their mood and encourage them to switch their energy to your vibration. Even if you can’t accomplish this, you will save yourself from falling into a negative mood.”
Dr. Berman believes that this energetic connection is part of the reason why couples benefit so much from compassion. “It isn’t just that partners feel good after doing good things for each other, but it is that their energy is stemming from a place of open-hearted love. Their partner feels that energy, even if they aren’t aware of the act of service itself, and that in turn encourages them to adopt a similar attitude. In other words, compassion becomes cyclical.”