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The Annoying Habit that Makes Love Last

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What smug couples can teach us about marriage.


We love to go to Hawaii. We watch "True Blood." And the worst: We're pregnant.

Chances are, you know one couple that over-abuses pronouns like "We" instead of saying "I." But could these happy, sappy lovebirds be onto something? New research conducted at UC Berkeley says couples that frequently refer to themselves as "We" resolve conflict more successfully than those who don't. The thinking is that these twosomes are constantly reminding each other that they're a unit, which generates more positive feelings, resulting in a happier and healthier relationship.

"Individuality is a deeply ingrained value in American society, but, at least in the realm of marriage, being part of a 'we' is well worth giving up a bit of 'me,'" said UC Berkeley psychology professor Robert Levenson, a co-author of the study published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Adds study co-author Benjamin Seider, a graduate student in psychology at UC Berkeley: "The use of 'we' language is a natural outgrowth of a sense of partnership, of being on the same team, and confidence in being able to face problems together."

On the flipside, couples who used words like "You" and "I" were less close, more stressed out, and unhappier in general.

We want to know what you think -- does this verbal habit make your skin crawl, or will these couples make it to their golden years?

next: Duggar Sons Help Save Girl, 6, in Car Accident
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachelle February 4, 2010, 2:10 PM

I WISH my husband said “we” even sometimes. With him it’s always my, I, you, mine. And we’re pretty stressed out. Hmmm, time to email him this article?

Gigohead  February 4, 2010, 2:32 PM

A male coworker wrote me that he and his wife were expecting but he noted that his wife didn’t allow him to say “we are pregnant” since she is doing most of the work. I think that’s a foolish move, and I say this as a woman. Please..I now we do all the work, but it helps in getting daddy involved early in the pregnancy.

Elizabeth E.  February 4, 2010, 2:36 PM

My husband and I are definitely a “We”… No matter what life throw our way…We get through every obstacle together and always stronger at the end… SSS! (Sorry So Sappy) :-)

briellis February 4, 2010, 3:32 PM

We’re definitely a “we” couple. However, “I” was pregnant. “I” got the shots of Lovenox in my belly everyday for 36wks. That was a “me” experience. Other than that, “we” are parents and “we” are generally very happy and laid back.

Diane February 4, 2010, 5:36 PM

I’m in a serious relationship, I’ve even said yes to moving in together in the very near in the future. He has the ‘we’ lingo going where I’ve been very apprehensive. This article gave me new insight and I think I’ll give it a shot, even though I’ll feel a little less independent. :)

MyKidsMom February 4, 2010, 6:21 PM

We’re a “we”. Even if he didn’t carry the babies in his belly, he definitely had to put up with my mommy-crazies. We are a team.

Think of your marriage as a sports team. Yea, I know it sounds silly but don’t scoff, just think about it. A sport’s analogy can be helpful for men. A man will be faithful to the same hockey team for a lifetime (or football team, etc). A man will support their favourite team whether or not they make it to the playoffs, win the Cup, embarass themselves, or whatever. Men understand that each team member needs to support their team. Why not use that to our advantage? A marriage is alot like a sport’s team. A team has the same name, eats the same food, sleeps in the same quarters, put up with each other’s quirks, use each other’s strengths and weaknesses to the advantage of the team and they have the same goal. A team needs to have a good offensive plan and a good defence. A sport’s team is like a marriage (just more people are involved :P). So get out your pom-poms and GO TEAM GO!

bren February 5, 2010, 6:02 AM

The funny thing about giving up the “I” for a “we” in terms of independence and individuality is that the more you become a “we” the better the “i” is also; more unique, more developed, more individual. Those who try to make it as an “i” miss out on a a lot of self development and personal growth that comes from learning to give up your self first, individualized way of thinking and acting that is necessary for making a “we” work”.

chris February 5, 2010, 7:46 AM

MykidsMOm don’t you mean OurkidsMom???
jk :-)

Chrystal @ Happy Mothering February 5, 2010, 12:37 PM

We’re definitely more of a “we” couple. The other day my husband said, “we’re having a baby” to a woman and she practically snapped at him! It was pretty funny. I definitely think we operate as a team, so there may be something to this study!

Used Golf Clubs September 21, 2010, 12:43 AM

In corresponding information, a cheetah would not cheat on his spouse, but a Mr. Woods Wooden.

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