Do you remember when you and your significant other first became a вЂњweвЂќ? I'm not talking about when the two of you agreed to date exclusively or even when you got engaged. Rather, I'm referring to the moment you stopped saying вЂњname of partner and IвЂќ in regular conversation and started using вЂњweвЂќ instead.
You know, the moment your coupledom started to annoy your single friends? As in, вЂњWe play HQ Trivia every day,вЂќ вЂњWe're obsessed with Peruvian foodвЂќ or even вЂњWe're pregnant!вЂќ
The change is often so subtle that many people don't notice. But words do matter, especially when it comes to our love lives. And according to a recently published study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, couples who often say вЂњweвЂќ and вЂњusвЂќ have more healthier, happier relationships.
Plenty of studies have already looked at вЂњwe-talkвЂќ and its impact on relationships. For the recent study, however, researchers from the University of California Riverside wanted to look at the big picture: Just how strong is the link between "we-talk" and relationship and personal functioning?
They surveyed the data of 30 published and unpublished studies that included nearly 5,300 participants-about half of whom were married. Specifically, they focused on data related to relationship outcomes (such as marital satisfaction), positive and negative relationship behaviors, mental and physical health outcomes, as well as self-care behaviors (such as abstinence from alcohol).
We-talk, the study's authors explain, is one manifestation of interdependence. That is, as you and your partner turn to each other for support over time, you learn to better understand and care for one another-i.e., become interdependent. вЂњFor example,вЂќ the authors write, вЂњif a couple is interdependent, they may say, 'we can work this out' rather than 'you and I can work this out.' Partners' identities may start to merge into one unit-we-rather than two separate entities-you and I-as couples become more interdependent; their orientation may shift from individual to relational as partners influence each other.вЂќ
In general, the authors found in their review that referring to your partnership in the form of вЂњweвЂќ and вЂњusвЂќ actually benefited the relationship as well as your health. (This was the case for both men and women.) In other words, when you focus on the needs of your dynamic duo instead of thinking about your own selfish desires, you're likely to be more satisfied with your relationship.
вЂњThe more romantic partners used we-talk, the better their relationship functioning tended to be,вЂќ the authors write. Furthermore, while it's pretty great if you refer to yourselves using вЂњwe,вЂќ it's even better when your partner does it. The authors suggest it may be because you see it as вЂњa signalвЂќ that your boo is willing to do what it takes to make this relationship work. After all, there's nothing sexier, right?
See more: How To Strengthen Your Relationship With Positive Psychology
As psychologist Tamar Chansky pointed out in a blog for Psychology Today a few years ago, adjusting your language to include more we-talk is really about fostering a better connection with your partner. вЂњThinking in terms of 'we' doesn't mean you lose yourself in your marriage,вЂќ Chansky wrote. вЂњIt means that there are now two people on the job of looking out for you instead of just one.вЂќ