A strong marriage, a long and healthy life, a good night’s sleep – you could spend a lifetime trying to work out how to achieve all three.
But according to new research, one simple thing will make the difference: sharing good news with your partner before going to bed.
Researchers found couples who shared morsels of good news with each other in the evening got more rest, were more intimate, and were far less stressed.
As a result of those small changes, couples could dramatically reduce their risk of age-related diseases, which are fueled by anxiety, sleeplessness and inactivity.
Couples who shared morsels of good news with each other in the evening got more rest, were more intimate, and were far less stressed, according to a new study of couples in Oregon
‘This study adds to a larger body of literature that supports how important it is to share with your partner when good things happen, as well as to respond positively to the sharing of good news,’ says Sarah Arpin, a social psychologist from Gonzaga University who was involved in the study.
The latest research builds on previous studies showing how important it is for couples to share their worries and stresses to relieve anxiety.
This, however, shows that it could be even more important to share even the smallest positive details from the last 24 hours – whether it is achieving something at work, making it to the gym, or even having a nice conversation.
The research focused on service member couples in Oregon, who can face unique challenges when they return in both the workplace and at home.
Arpin and colleagues examined relationships among perceived responsiveness to capitalization (sharing good news), loneliness, intimacy, and sleep in 162 post-9/11 military couples.
‘Very few studies have examined daily relationship processes among military couples, who may be particularly vulnerable to relationship difficulties post-deployment,’ Arpin said.
In relationship research this type of support, sharing good news, is referred to as capitalization. Capitalization is a particularly important support process in close relationships.
‘When you share something good, and the recipient of information is actively happy for you, it heightens the positive experience for both parties,’ says Arpin. ‘However, when someone ‘rains on your parade’ that can have negative consequences.’
Researchers required couples to be living together for at least 6 months to participate. About 20 percent of them were unmarried.
The length of time couples were together varied widely, though the average length of relationship was 12 years.
The research is being presented at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention.