Personality and Marital Relationships: Developing a Satisfactory Relationship with an Imperfect Partner

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APA Citation: 

Saeed Abbasi, I. (2017). Personality and marital relationships: Developing a satisfactory relationship with an imperfect partner. Contemporary Family Therapy, 39(3), 184-194. doi:10.1007/s10591-017-9414-1

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
ACT Marital conflicts; Marital relationship; Marital therapy; Personality

Two partners tying a marital knot cannot possibly fathom the complexity of the relationship that lies ahead. Once married, the success or failure of marriage is determined by a myriad of factors. Each partner is a unique agglomeration of stable personal dispositions that influence marital relationships. During courtship, partners typically idealize their relationship and maintain a positive illusion about their significant other, and behaviors and traits that may later threaten the developing relationship are mostly ignored. In the early marriage years, however, the process of marital disillusionment begins and the personal dispositions that were dismissed earlier become increasingly conspicuous and hard to ignore. Eventually, partners come to grips with reality and experience a decline in love. Acknowledging that personal dispositions are ingrained in the genetics and are reinforced by the early experiences and attachment bonds, this paper reviews the role of personal dispositions on marital outcomes and examines how negative outcomes can be curbed by therapeutic interventions. In this context, the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; an experiential acceptance-based behavior therapy) that targets experiential avoidance and increases psychological flexibility is discussed.