Forgiveness Can Kill a Marriage

Expressing anger can be a good thing, says professor
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2012 5:11 PM CDT
Forgiveness Can Kill a Marriage
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, after their wedding last year.   (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool, File)

All that forgive and forget stuff? Bad for marriage, apparently, which thrives on a good argument once in a while. The "short-term discomfort of an angry but honest conversation" helps a marriage in the long run, says University of Tennessee Associate Professor James McNulty, who conducted several studies on the subject. "Thoughts and behaviors presumed to be associated with better well-being lead to worse well-being among some people."

McNulty's findings are complicated by the frequency and severity of a partner's offense, and the agreeableness of the people involved. "Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner, " he tells the Daily Mail. There's no "magic bullet," he admits, but "people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger." (More marriage stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.