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Forgiveness has been touted by everyone from Barney to the Pope, but in marriage it may have its drawbacks. A study in the Journal of Family Psychology claims that forgiving a spouse can lead to more transgressions. Who knew deep-seated animosity and the inability to “let things go” would help a marriage?
Newlyweds in the study were followed for one week; those who forgave their partners' bad behaviors were twice as likely to note more bad behavior the following day than those who stayed mad. Sure, spouses are on their best behavior when they’re dealing with an angry partner, but still, you've got to wonder whether these effects last.
According to a follow-up study, they do. Newlyweds were tracked for four years and a similar pattern was found. This study by the same author looked at tendencies to forgive verbal and physical aggression. Those who forgave were more likely to face continued aggressive behavior -- though it’s important to note that partners who are prone to aggression will most likely continue with their behaviors over time. These studies suggest that forgiving your better half can lead to a doormat effect. When you say, “Oh, I forgive you,” it may be heard as, “What you did was OK.” Hey, holding a grudge seems to keep the ball and chain in check, but don't you think that working out problems would be a better solution?
Do you hold grudges? Or quickly forgive your partner? Chime in below!