Couples Who Practise Forgiveness And Gratitude Have A Better Love And Sex Life, Says Study
when I started dating at 16, I had a very fairytale-like, rom-com-like view of romance but not anymore. Back then, I expected everything to be ideal and our lives brimming with love that would last. That also led to my ex having to lie a lot and hiding things because he didn’t know if I would be forgiving enough. Honestly, I don’t know but I know now I don’t expect a person to be flawless. Now I don’t expect myself to be flawless. A healthy relationship looks like a safe haven to me where both partners can be themselves, be flawed and make mistakes. If you’re worried constantly that if you err, they will leave you, your foundations are weak. All of us are wrong sometimes but what matters is the intent and the kind of wrong they are. So when you have a person, accepting you for who you are, loving you in the most genuine way and making you feel secure, it’s hard to not feel gratitude.
A lot of people don’t have the emotional quotient to grow and evolve psychologically. From being unforgiving and judgemental to impulsive and defensive, they navigate their relationships with little sensitivity and mindfulness. But when you’re handling something so precious, you got to treat like it’s of great value. This means you have to think before you act and offer sensitivity and nurturing. Otherwise, you’re just treating your relationship like a pair of disposable gloves that didn’t fit right.
In fact, a new study found that forgiveness and gratitude are two skills – under the umbrella of mindfulness – that are positively linked to relationship outcomes. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique,” by Oxford.
According to previous research, people with more mindfulness were more willing to see things from the other person’s perspective and showing empathy. “Forgiveness demands presence, reminding us that we are not the same as the feelings we possess in a given situation, nor is the person who we’ve harmed or who has harmed us,” once said renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. So mindfulness makes us more likely to forgive our partners, which in turn, helps strength our bond.
“We wanted to understand how mindfulness positively links to sexual and relational satisfaction. We imagined that one reason mindful people have better sexual and romantic relationship is because they are more grateful and more forgiving,” Psypost quoted study author Chelom E. Leavitt, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University.
The researchers analysed data from 2,117 newly-wed couples. The participants took a survey that measured their mindfulness, relationship and sexual satisfaction. The survey also aimed to measure how forgiving they were. For instance, they were asked to reminisce of a time when they were hurt by their partner and then assessed for their response in that situation. The survey also measured gratitude and appreciation for their partners.
The study found that people who scored higher in mindfulness also scored higher in forgiveness and gratitude. And those who forgave their partners and appreciated them were also found to be more satisfied in their relationship, including their sex life. Leavitt told PsyPost, “Being mindful can help us to consider the small details in our lives and likely creates more feelings of gratitude and an ability to see our part in problems and how those problems can be resolved. Additionally, being mindful also is linked to our partner’s feelings of satisfaction. So be mindful for yourself and your partner!”
However, what’s quite intriguing is the observation that husbands’ forgiveness and gratitude was more important for relationship benefits. “Interestingly, husbands’ forgiveness and gratitude played a particularly strong role in relationships, especially in determining their own relationship satisfaction. This suggests that husbands who are more forgiving and grateful enjoy a greater link between their practice of mindfulness and their relational satisfaction, which is key in their perceived relationship quality,” the study reads.
“Slowing down our thought process and being more tuned into our body seems to have a host of positive effects—gratitude and forgiveness are just two of them. Being mindful is simple, no-cost, and a really effect way to improve your life,” Leavitt said.
In fact, the researchers found that this attitude is actually contagious among couples. If one partner is being mindful, it creates a positive environment promoting forgiveness and gratitude in the relationship. So when you start taking the high road, prioritising the good over bad and letting go of minor glitches, your partner mirrors that kind of positivity. I can vouch for this to be true!
The study, “Forgiveness and Gratitude: Links Between Couples’ Mindfulness and Sexual and Relational Satisfaction in New Cisgender Heterosexual Marriages”, was authored by J. B. Eyring, Chelom E. Leavitt, David B. Allsop, and Tyler J. Clancy.