An Unsupportive Spouse Can Make You Sick

We are all evangelical about the good choices we’ve made.

Left your job to start your own successful company? You’ll tell everyone that being an entrepreneur is the way to go.

Bought a house in the suburbs in a great school district? You’ll probably encourage your friends to do the same.

Bought an apartment in the city so you can be closer to the center of things? You probably believe that this is the ideal lifestyle.

The point is that we all fall victim to our own confirmation bias – and tend to parrot evidence that validates our point of view.

I try extra hard not to fall into that trap, but you may reasonably disagree.

That’s why I’m sharing this article with you on the perils of an “ambivalent marriage.”

This is not an argument against marriage. This is an argument against BAD marriage.

According to a BYU study posted in the New York Times recently, “ambivalence in a relationship — the feeling that a partner may be unpredictable with his or her support or negativity — can take a quiet toll on the health of an individual.”

This is usually where people who have been burned by marriage pipe up and say, “Aha! I told you so! All that stuff about married people being happier is bullshit!”

Actually, it’s not; and it’s important to establish that publicly.

Marriage isn’t a magic panacea that instantly makes you happy and cures your ills.

Being single isn’t a sad one-way ticket to Loserville.

I think that’s pretty obvious, but I still think it’s worthy saying out loud.

In fact, what this study (a small study, but still) illustrates is that that “23 percent of the couples were in supportive marriages with low levels of negativity. The remaining 77 percent of couples gave mixed responses, suggesting their marriages were more ambivalent in terms of positive and negative feelings toward each other.” And, of course, these negative feelings caused negative effects like stress and lower cardiovascular health.

Take your time choosing a better partner, and you’ll have a better marriage (and a happier life, as well).

This is not an argument against marriage. This is an argument against BAD marriage.

Every post I’ve ever written has stressed the virtues of GOOD marriage, based on compatibility, consistency, communication, kindness and comfort.

The “ambivalent” marriages in question only go to show what anyone could have told you: it’s hard to be happy in relationship in which your partner is critical or unsupportive.

Take your time choosing a better partner, and you’ll have a better marriage (and a happier life, as well).

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.