I read some disturbing statistics recently: only one-third of people who get married end up having a happy, healthy marriage. The other two-thirds either get divorced (the majority) or remain together in a bitter, dysfunctional union, for whatever their reasons may be.
These statistics, which appear in The Science of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro (2014) don’t seem to bother the millions of people who say “I do” every year. Despite the unhappiness and divorce that people see happening all around them, most individuals seem to still believe they will live the fairy tale and beat the odds—if they even take the time to seriously discuss the potential hurdles before the big day.
You’ve probably read or seen stories in which couples who have been married a long time are asked the secret to their long, happy union. Among all the questioning, social scientists have identified two secrets to a lasting, loving relationship, and two opposing characteristics that can be a couple’s downfall.
The two relationship secrets are kindness and generosity; the traits exhibited in sharp contrast and far too often, however, are hostility and criticism. Kindness and generosity are life-affirming; hostility and criticism are a death knell.