Psychologist Arthur Aron has proved that "spending more time together", as most psychologists advise, is practically useless. Instead, he found another way, revolutionary and trouble-free. About it, we now talk.
Arthur Aron, an American psychologist, is known not only for 36 questions, with which you can fall in love with a stranger and fall in love with him. A real scientist, he explores the psychological phenomenon of love. The experience of "falling in love with 6 questions" was put about twenty years ago and still fascinates the imagination. But to fall in love, after all, is a simple matter, it is really interesting how one can preserve the feeling, carry it through decades of living together, washing, children, animals, crises and diseases.
Arthur Aron to this question has a very interesting answer, intuitively seems extremely true.
Expansion of the person: the basic instinct
Aaron adheres to the theory of constant expansion of the person. This means that our personality always wants to increase in size, absorbing new knowledge, impressions and experiences. A kind of "cadavr, unsatisfied intellectually." And an excellent way to expand the personality becomes a romance or love. Personality is furiously expanding at the expense of the partner - new smells, new sensations, new knowledge, friends and even relatives. And this, of course, is a mutual process, the identity of the partner is also expanding. By the way, one of the reasons why parting is experienced so hard is that instead of expanding the personality, there is a contraction, compression, we become "less", and this is a wildly traumatic process for the psyche.
This same theory explains the decline in the mutual satisfaction of partners in long relationships. The first amazing period of mutual expansion, when people giggle together until the morning, share skills, secrets and postcoital cigarettes, has already passed (usually it takes six months to two years). And then the couple already know everything about each other, and the expansion stops.
In some cases it helps to have children - it also helps to expand the consciousness. Children are constantly growing, changing all the time, opening the world to themselves - and we are doing this with them. But for most couples, the constant joint admiration of offspring is not enough.
It all looks so far like a banality from Captain Obviousness, but it s not. Aron and his colleagues conducted some very interesting experiments on long-term relationships. He took 53 married couples of middle age and persuaded them ten weeks to follow his instructions, spending one and a half hours per week for certain classes. A third of these couples had to choose an active holiday, a qualitatively new leisure for themselves: skis, hikes, dances, concerts. The second group was supposed to be engaged in "pleasant", but quieter things: movies, restaurants, visiting friends. The third group was a control group and did nothing. It turned out that the level of satisfaction with marriage was much higher among those who were engaged in delightful and amazing kinds of outdoor activities.
A more precise and carefully controlled experiment was put in the laboratory. Half of the couples were forced to do something ordinary - household chores, for example. The second half was forced to deal with a strange and wildly gambling thing, namely: they were tied to each other by ankles and wrists and forced to crawl together, overcoming obstacles and pushing the heads of a small and not very heavy barrel. It was necessary to do this for a while, and the experimenters initially cheated and made it so that two times the couple could not meet the set deadlines, and for the third time could barely. Next, the standard tests measured the level of satisfaction with the relationship, and it always turned out that those who pushed the barrel’s head were much higher than those who together, say, cleaned the potatoes.
There is no point in cleaning the potatoes together.
The main thing that this theory leads us to - the advice of family psychologists to spend more time together and work together in the household - is complete nonsense. "If the relationship does not provide opportunities for expanding the personality, finding partners with a number of relationships can only hurt." In other words, why spend more time together if this time is devoted to viewing the same serials and the same cleaning?
Dr. Aron recommends avoiding routine. It is clear that not all couples can climb together on Mount Everest or raft down the mountain streams. But in any case, you have to go to dinner every time a different restaurant, and not always the same. And it does not matter that your favorite restaurant is good, and all the rest - as usual. You have to try every weekend to try new hobbies, do different things, and do it together.