In a study to be published in July in the journal Psychological Science, Northwestern University psychologist Daniel Molden and colleagues were interested in the possible differences between the way dating and married couples see each other. They asked 92 dating couples and 77 married couples to complete questionnaires about satisfaction with their relationship, and not surprising, marriage changes things.
Everyone, married or dating, thinks the best partner is one who acts as a cheering section and brings out our best. But that sort of relationship only translates into a truly happy marriage when the partner seems to accept real commitment and helps in the day-to-day obligations of life as a couple.
The surprise here is not the switch from a focus on "me" to a focus on "us," as anyone who has gone from the first blush of love to picking up someone else's underwear off the floor knows to be true. What really stands out is the idea that satisfaction within any relationship is based on perception rather than actual fact, and therein lies the rub of not only love, but also of living with someone on intimate terms.