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My Married Life: New Theory: Negativity is Good for Marriage

In this interesting Huffpo post, James McNulty, a psychological scientist at the University of Tennessee, makes a case for brutal honesty -- which can often be (you guessed it) negative. McNulty's main point? Being more negative during an argument (i.e. actually voicing real complaints rather than watered down versions) is better for married couples having trouble.

From the piece:
"He has examined couples' expectations, their tendencies to blame one another, their problem-solving styles and their readiness to forgive. His overall conclusion is that, while positivity is in fact tonic for couples who are doing okay, it is detrimental for couples who are already on the skids."

In other words, trying to will yourself to "just be positive" about real problems doesn't work if your marriage is really hanging in the balance. What does work? Being super honest about needs that aren't being met and (hopefully) working toward real change together. But, there's one big caveat -- McNulty isn't saying that it's cool to be negative all the time. Instead, he just wants couples to hold each other accountable for their bad behavior. But while honesty might be the best policy, McNulty says that sarcasm is always destructive.

Arg! That one's hard for me. While Jack's bad behavior might include such things as yelling or storming out of the room, my bad behavior definitely involves a few doses of sarcastic bitchdom. Luckily I only do this at my worst and it’s not my norm. But either way, it's good to remember that being snarky is a sucky strategy (assuming my goal is to remain happily married).

What do you guys think about this?

-- Holly

See More: Couple Issues , Love & Sex