As we have discussed regularly this semester, advancements in technology and the World Wide Web, have brought us closer together as a global community. This week I want to highlight a current event that has taken hold of millions of people involved in the social sphere of YouTube and Twitter. The YouTube stars, Alli and Charles Trippy are known as the World Record holders for most consecutive vlogs or video blogs. For over five years they recorded the beginning of their relationship, proposal, wedding, two brain surgeries (Charles recently finished his last round of chemotherapy for brain cancer), and announcement of separation. While this couple was popular and adored by their 1 million viewers, they are not the first to separate or divorce, and won’t be the last. As a newlywed myself, I found this weeks themes of relationships and optimism to be especially close to my heart. What helps us maintain close and meaningful relationships in our lives?
Schneider et al. (2012) states that romantic couples who exchange optimism will experience greater success in problem solving than do pessimists. Optimism allows each individual to contribute efficient coping strategies, and higher levels of cooperation. Advanced cooperation means that the individual refrains from name calling, belittling the other, or assigning blame (Assad et al., 2013). In times of struggle and poor health, mates found their partner to be more attractive when they exhibited optimistic behavior (Schneider et al., 2012).
Dr. Ben Karney is a professor of social psychology at UCLA and specializes in the stability of intimate relationships during the early years of marriage. In an article for the American Psychological Association, Dr. Karney notes that individuals who are the happiest overall, have a greater ability of highlighting the most positive attributes of their marriage or relationship (Karney, 2010). Global attributions are conclusions that we perceive as having a wide-ranging influence on our lives (Schneider et al., 2012). More specifically, Karney suggests that individuals who provide specific examples to support global attributions like “my husband is amazing” will experience more happiness within the relationship. This ability is similar to the topic of problem solving that was shared previously.
Life can be very difficult even for more optimistic individuals. Sometimes we are forced to tackle difficult problems that test our ability to stay optimistic. However, when interacting with the people we love, it is important to practice optimistic behaviors. Resolving problems will become easier when optimistic behaviors of cooperation are practiced. Further, allowing one’s self to support positive global attributions allows for a deeper understanding of that original thought. Marriage and partnerships will continue to face challenges, but a path toward optimism can help many maintain close, meaningful relationships.
Assad, K.K., Donnellan M.B., Conger, R.D., (2013). Optimism: An enduring resource for romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(2)
Karney, B., (2010). Keeping Marriages Healthy, and Why it’s so Difficult. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2010/02/sci-brief.aspx
Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M., (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. London: Sage Publications.