Why are you single? Is there equality of power between husband and wife? A new German study gives the answer

Both parties have independent voices in matters they deem important, which is the key to a long-term relationship.

The new crown epidemic that has swept the world has put many areas into isolation, which has also caused many couples to fight day after day in getting along day and night, and the divorce rate even soared. How can we feel long-term happiness in marriage? Do you repeatedly make compromises in exchange for each other’s love? What is the perfect balance between love and power?

Recently, psychologists from Martin Luther University (MLU) and University Of Bamberg in Germany conducted a survey of 181 pairs of long-term partners. They were surprised to find that the relative power brought about by social status does not determine the happiness of marriage, and that individual satisfaction with power in the marriage relationship is the secret of happiness.

In other words, both parties have independent voices in matters they deem important, which is the key to a long-term relationship.

Related research results were published in the Journal of Social and Personal relationships with the title Power in romantic relationships: How positional and experienced power are associated with relationship quality.

Why are you single? Is there equality of power between husband and wife? A new German study gives the answer

Is there equality of power between husband and wife?

In the context of social psychology, power represents more economic, social and emotional resources (positional power). The relative power brought about by social status can be quantified by indicators such as economic income, occupation, and educational background.

Early investigations show that there is almost no absolute equality of power between husband and wife. In most cases, men have more final decision-making power than women. This also means that for most of the history, the wife must make compromises on many issues. With the progress of society, this phenomenon is changing. One of the manifestations is the concept of personal sense of power.

Robert Körner of the Institute of Psychology at Martin Luther University in Germany said: “This sounds like some kind of ruthless contest, but power does play an important role in marriage. Having the right to speak in marriage has a great impact on happiness. “Personal power refers to the ability to influence the thoughts and behaviors of a partner and successfully resist the influence of the other half. It largely represents a person’s autonomy and freedom in the marriage relationship.

On the other hand, the sense of personal power is also the reason why many people choose to be single. Because being single means 100% autonomy and freedom.

Why are you single? Is there equality of power between husband and wife? A new German study gives the answer

To explore the influence of power on marital happiness, psychologist Robert Körner and Astrid Schütz interviews with 181 for the same home life of at least one month of heterosexual couples. Respondents aged between 18 years to 71 years, average with a time of 8 years. The quality of marriage is defined by the appreciation of the partner (fascination), the degree of trust in the partner (trust), the satisfaction with sex (sexuality), the sense of oppression or constraint (constraint), the commitment to the marriage (engagement) and the future It is measured by six dimensions such as future.

The most innovative thing is that this research distinguishes four different power indicators for the first time: relative power (positional power), power motive (power motive), power satisfaction (satisfaction with power) and personal sense of power (personal sense of power). power).

Can the two have the final say at the same time?

The results of the survey were beyond the expectations of the researchers.

The results of the study show that based on higher income and education, German men participating in the survey still have more relative power. This means that in objective conditions, there is still a certain gap between men and women. The report believes that this is directly related to the inequality of opportunities and different pay for equal work that are common in society. In addition, in the sample surveyed this time, male partners are on average 2 years older than their significant other, which also gives them a certain advantage. In terms of power motives, there are obvious gender differences between men and women, and men’s desire to make decisions is stronger than women’s.

What is interesting, however, is that these two factors do not seem to affect the quality of these couples’ marriages. In other words, social status and desire for power cannot determine whether a person is happy in marriage. Among the 181 couples who have successfully maintained a long-term marriage relationship, most believe that they have similar influence and voice in decision-making. In addition, both parties believe that they have considerable power in their past married life. This means that to some extent, both spouses feel that they can do whatever they want in the marriage.

Researchers believe that two people’s joint decision-making is not necessarily an all-or-nothing zero-sum game. Everyone may seek influence in different aspects of marriage, and everyone may have areas that they consider to be very important. In other words, a person who can find happiness in a long-term marriage is a person who enjoys equality and self-power at the same time.

Robert Körner concluded: “The subjective feeling of having power and freedom has a great influence on the quality of the relationship.” In such a relationship, both parties can make decisions on matters important to them as they wish. Schütz also believes: “This subjective feeling exists in different aspects of the relationship between the sexes. For example, the wife may want to decide where to go on vacation, and the husband will choose where to eat.” In short, both parties need to be able to do what is important to them. Only when you make a decision can you be satisfied with the relationship.

Why are you single? Is there equality of power between husband and wife? A new German study gives the answer

 Figure | Coefficient of relationship between power and marriage quality

Further analysis of the subject-object interdependence model (APIM) shows that the relative power brought about by social status has no significant impact on the subject and the object. In other words, earning more money can neither determine the self nor the marital happiness of his partner. The only impact is that the higher a person’s socioeconomic status, the lower his/her feeling of being restrained in the relationship between the sexes. This result shows that a person’s economic situation has a smaller impact on the marriage relationship than society generally believes. At least in Germany, income has a weaker influence on marriage relationships today than in the past.

Why are you single? Is there equality of power between husband and wife? A new German study gives the answer

In terms of personal power, the subject’s power experience is positively correlated with the appreciation of the partner, investment in marriage, sexual satisfaction, future expectations, trust, and overall marriage quality scores. Those who are satisfied with their right to speak in a relationship are also satisfied with the overall quality of their marriage. And when a person is satisfied with his level of power, his partner will also feel more satisfied with the marriage relationship and willing to invest more. In other words, the more confident both parties have in their power in the marriage relationship, the happier the marriage will be.

In terms of power motives, there is a significant correlation between women’s power motives and men’s sexual satisfaction. When women have a strong motivation for power, male partners report more sexual satisfaction. The report believes that women’s power motives are positively correlated with the frequency of sexual intercourse and estradiol. Estradiol is a hormone that increases women’s sexual desire and behavior, which in turn may be related to men’s satisfaction with couples’ sexual life.

Reference materials:

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