Most people would agree that passion is a crucial component of any romantic relationship, but why? A research conducted in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examines the role of passionate loves in establishing a romantic relationship.
Passionate love involves being genuine and connected to a romantic partner throughout all phases of a relationship, from the initial desire to invest emotionally in a prospective partner through continuing communication and resolving conflict later in the relationship.
This research sought to understand how positivity bias works in tandem with passionate love to maintain relationships.
Moran Mizrahi, the lead author, and her colleagues conducted a sample of 203 married couples from Maryland that served as the sample in Study 1. Participants went to the laboratory session in person and then kept a daily diary for the next two weeks. They completed measures on passionate love, commitment, daily prorelationship behavior, daily self-perception.
In Study 2, Mizrahi and colleagues used 175 North American newlywed couples as their sample. Couples completed questionnaires online and completed daily diary entries for two weeks as well. They completed measures on passionate love, commitment, daily prorelationship behavior, daily self-perception.
When passion love was controlled for, people who felt higher levels of passionate love were more likely to engage in prorelationship behaviors for their partners. Relationship commitment, though associated with positivity biases as well, did not predict these prorelationship behaviors.
According to the researchers, the desire to be close to a romantic partner increases favorable perceptions of the relationship's qualities and good actions, thereby influencing intimates to paint them with idealized opinions. Keeping the glass as half full might encourage romantic partners to sacrifice for their relationship without experiencing cognitive dissonance or display their love in prorelationship actions.
Although this study made significant advances in understanding how passion aides in a successful relationship, it still has some flaws. One such limitation is that the couples studied were all in relatively early relationship stages, where passionate love is often high.
Both samples were North American and contained the majority of Caucasian participants. Future research might try to diversify the sample and see if the findings hold.
Despite these limitations, our findings provide new insights on the role of [passionate love] in relationship development. When combined with idealized perceptions, these small gestures may indicate a partner's ongoing commitment and responsiveness in a long-term relationship.
Moran Mizrahi, Michael R. Maniaci, and Harry T. Reis collaborated on the paper, Seeds of love: Positivity bias mediates passionate love and prorelationship behavior in romantic couples.