Authors Discuss Reoxygenating
When the authors discuss reoxygenating marriage, it is simply meant that individuals must reevaluate the balance between what they are asking from marriage and what they are investing in it. It is suggested that couples may reoxygenate their marriage through three different avenues, optimizing available resources, investing in supplemental oxygen, and requiring less oxygen.
Through optimizing available resources, it is thought that this will bolster the extent to which one can achieve high altitude need fulfillment without an influx of addition time or psychological resources. The idea of investing supplemental oxygen strategically reallocates time and resources away from other pursuits and toward one’s marriage. This increases the ability of the relationship to meet high-altitude demands placed upon it by the spouses. Lastly, the idea of requiring less oxygen is simply diffusing responsibility from the spouse to other outlets and other available resources.
How it works
The first avenue, optimizing available resources, provides three interventions, the marriage hack intervention, the relationship excitement intervention, and the relationship awareness intervention. The marriage hack intervention involves spouses writing for seen minutes every four months about a recent marital conflict. They are then seeking to reappraise the situation from the perspective of a neutral third party who simply wants the best for everyone involved. Studies show that couples who practiced this intervention managed to sustain marital quality over time, while those who did not had a decrease in martial quality.
The relationship excitement intervention involves participation in shared exciting activities, which in turn lead to greater romantic-relationship excitement, positive affect, and relationship satisfaction, as well as a sustained elevated level of relationship well-being compared to their well-being prior to the intervention. In the relationship awareness intervention, couples were to reflect on current behaviors within their relationship and were to decide whether this behavior is constructive or destructive.
It is acknowledged by the authors that stress levels or economic circumstances make it very difficult for one to allocate additional time, psychological resources, or money to invest in the marriage. When discussing the investment of supplemental oxygen, it is meant that spouses must diffuse responsibility and need fulfillment from the spouse to other social outlets. This is crucial as if sufficient resources are spread amongst individuals, it is ensured that the marriage can flourish. It has been found that spouses with a larger percentage of shared friends or attend religious services not only spend more time together, but also have an expansive social network which allows for the diffusion of support, psychological resources, and need fulfillment rather than solely relying on the spouse.
Lastly, it is suggested by the authors that one must simply require less oxygen. By this, it is meant that spouses can ask less of marriage by asking marriage to meet more lower than higher altitude needs, and/or they can minimize the marital dependence zone. They may continue to ask the marriage to meet needs of the same altitude, however, they must reduce the number or intensity of these requests. Unrealistic expectations, such as the right spouse must be an ideal partner in all ways, place great strain on spousal relationships and reduce overall marital satisfaction.
It is encouraged by the authors that these partners may fulfill different functions, such as lover, confidant, therapist, etc., and to consciously prioritize the functions that they consider to be most essential. This allows for each individual to play on their strengths and the gap between expectations and reality decreases substantially, which in turn increase marital quality. Modest and selective changes are more likely to increase both personal and martial well-being, while extreme changes, such as neglecting interdependence, is counterproductive.