“We-Ness Works”

February 4th, 2010

I’m sure many of you have seen the Stronger Marriage ads on TV talking about how to change ‘Me to We’ and now our recommendations are being echoed in a recent New York Daily News article from Jan. 29:

COUPLES WHO REFER TO THEMSELVES AS ‘WE’ ARE HAPPIER THAN THOSE WHO SAY ‘I’, ‘ME’ OR ‘YOU’

By, Sherryl Connelly, NY Daily News

If you want a happier marriage, use the magic word: We.

“We-ness” is a language that spouses who are better able to resolve conflicts speak, according to new study from the University of California, Berkeley.

The other good words are “our” and “us.” Pronouns such as “I,” “me” and “you” are a problem, according to the study.

Stronger Marriage Ad - Me to We

Stronger Marriage Ad - Me to We

Researchers analyzed 154 middle-aged and older married couples talking about disagreements. The conversations between those who used the “we” words went more smoothly and were less physically stressful on both sides.

The “I” couples were shown to be less satisfied with each other, according to the study.

The study linked the separateness pronouns to unhappy marriages, particularly in older couples.

But more older couples identified as “we” than the middle-aged ones did. It’s likely that facing life’s tough stuff over time and raising families may give a couple a greater sense of shared identity.

“Individuality is a deeply ingrained value in American society, but, at least in the realm of marriage, being part of a ‘we’ is well worth giving up a bit of ‘me,’” said Robert Levenson, professor of psychology and co-author of the study published in the journal of Psychology and Aging.

Earlier studies have shown that “we-ness” versus “me-ness” is a strong indicator of how happy younger couples are. This study shows how the pronoun/identity factor plays out over time as couples either team up or become polarized over disagreements.

“The use of ‘we’ language is a natural outgrowth of a sense of partnership, of being on the same team, and confidence in being able to face problems together,” said co-author Benjamin Seider.


Article courtesy of  http://www.nydailynews.com