Creativity and Self-Expansion in a Healthy Marriage

What is it that keeps a couple together? If it’s not what is described in the endless letters  and sonnets of pain and woe, akin to torturing each other, what is the glue that binds us?

Is it something else, perhaps love?

It may not be feelings of love or loyalty that keep couples together. Rather, some scientists speculate that your level of commitment depends on how much your partner enhances your life and broadens your horizons. Arthur Aron, a psychologist and relationship researcher at Stony Brook University, calls this “self-expansion.”

Experiments have been conducted at Stony Brook, which show that when a couple works together to achieve victory in something (even in a simple game, like being tied together in an obstacle course), they express greater love and satisfaction with each other.

Conversely, couples who did not experience this victory with each other did not express such a high mutual satisfaction.

What does this have to do with self-expansion? There are many theories now that couples who explore new places together, or try new and exciting things with each other, will increase their self-expansion, which increases their level of commitment to each other.

“We enter relationships because the other person becomes part of ourselves, and that expands us,” Dr. Aron said. “That’s why people who fall in love stay up all night talking and it feels really exciting. We think couples can get some of that back by doing challenging and exciting things together.”

- Tara Parker-Pope’s new book, “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage”

To measure this quality of “enhancement” in your relationship, sit down and ask yourself these questions about your partner:

  • How much does your partner offer a source of exciting experiences?
  • How much has knowing your partner made you a better person?
  • How much do you see your partner as a way to expand your own capabilities?

If you find that your partner is not enhancing your life as much as you’d like, or if you feel that you may not be doing so for your partner, get out and do something exciting and new! Doing something the two of you have never done before not only increases your self-expansion: it gives you the chance to go out and be together, simply for the sake of being together with someone you love.

If you need ideas on how to revive your relationship and your self-expansion, or if you feel there are too many conflicts standing in the way of a relationship renewal, visit us at Conflict Coach for a free consultation on your situation. Coach Nora is here to help you find more satisfaction in your relationship, each and every day!

Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora

Dr. Nora is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Sign up for free, here on her blog, to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! We can begin by you having a complimentary consultation with Dr. Nora. Visit her coaching site today to talk with Dr. Nora and receive a plan for action to change your life. She's ready to help!

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