Research Finds a Happy, Healthy Relationship Begins with This Word
"We were going to watch The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel, but we decided to take a nap instead."
So many of us know the subtle groan such a statement can elicit when an individual speaks on behalf of coupledom, but such phrasing may actually indicate a healthy relationship. A recent meta-review from University of California Riverside researchers of 30 studies of nearly 5,300 people found that "we-talk" couples may be better off than those who don't use the "we" and "us" pronouns as frequently.
The findings revealed that couples who regularly use we-talk "have more successful relationships and are healthier and happier," as a release in Science Daily put it. The scientists, led by psychologist Megan Robbins, considered five factors in their analysis: Relationship outcomes, relationship behaviors, mental health, physical health, and health behaviors (how well study participants take care of themselves). Benefits of we-talk were seen across all five categories.
"By examining all these studies together, they let us see the bigger picture. We-talk is an indicator of interdependence and general positivity in romantic relationships," said Alexander Karan, a graduate student in Robbins' lab and lead author of a related paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in August 2018.
"The benefit of analyzing many different couples in a lot of different contexts is that it establishes we-talk isn't just positively related in one context, but that it indicates positive functioning overall," Karan later noted in the release.
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Of course, just because we-talk was associated with these positive outcomes doesn't mean the mere act of speaking with the pronouns creates them. Rather, consider the findings food for thought next time you're hungry for some relationship intel. Ahem, next time we're hungry.