The gentle way
A letter with a personal address, an exercise in changing perspectives: Even small psychological tricks can often bring about important changes in behavior.
Sometimes important findings disappear in the archives of specialist literature instead of being put into practice. Erica Slotter and Laura Luchies are absolutely clear that they should publicize their brief intervention with a smartphone app because it could potentially help hundreds of thousands of people. But even years later, the American psychologists have not tackled the project. The results of their study were already published in 2013 – and went viral through the media at the time. At the time, the researchers and their colleagues toned: "Just 21 minutes of 'therapy' and you already appreciate your partnership again."
They repeatedly asked 120 couples who had been married for an average of eleven years over a period of two years how satisfied they were with their relationship and what points of contention there were. After one year, half of the couples benefited from the intervention. And it turned out to be apparently simple: every four months, each partner wrote down for seven minutes what they thought about the currently most important point of contention in their relationship - from the point of view of a fictitious third party who only wants the best for both of them.
In the first year of the study, the average quality of relationships decreased in both the intervention and control groups. This is not surprising, since many findings indicate that satisfaction in a partnership falls on average over time. In the second year, however, there was a clear difference: couples who were asked to change their perspective stated that they were happier with their partner again. For example, they reported that sex gave them more pleasure again. "The measure can stop a negative downward spiral in long-term relationships," emphasize Slotter and Luchies in a book about such "wise interventions" …