In Relationships, Be Deliberate

August 30, 2014 Updated: September 4, 2014

A report released  from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia looks at the many factors that predict a high quality marriage. One of the main findings was about how couples handle relationship milestones, like moving in together.

Why do people who decide do better than those who slide through their milestones? The data hint at two possibilities. The first is that those who decide might just be more thoughtful people. For individuals, deciding means thinking carefully about what they want in a romantic partner, in their sexual life, from living together, and in having children—and keeping these desires in mind as they navigate relationships. For couples, deciding means taking the time to communicate and to make mutual decisions when something important is at stake. Couples who decide rather than slide also have more practice working together and are likely better at proactively talking through important life issues, a skill that could help them build a happy marriage.

When partners slide, they tend to be less thoughtful, which could have negative consequences, like marrying a poor match.

Deciding rather than sliding revolves around commitment—not just to each other, but to the decision itself. Making a decision, research shows, sets individuals up for better follow-through.

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*Image of “wedding cake topper” via Shutterstock