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A recent study of service member couples found that sharing good news resulted in better health and happiness. The researchers found that supportive and responsive partners led to improved communication, better sleep, and reduced loneliness. Veterans benefit from their partner sharing when good things happen and feel a greater level of intimacy. While this conclusion seems obvious for most of us, we may not appreciate the degree of benefit. Sharing good news is referred to as capitalization which is especially important in a supportive relationship. Why do some people struggle with sharing good news? Maybe they want to remain humble, tend to be reserved, or don’t want to create envy in others. Or maybe they fear someone raining on their parade or topping their good news with something even better.
Relationships benefit from sharing both good and bad news. We connect through our emotional expression and openness. Unfortunately, some choose to internalize or compartmentalize their thoughts and feelings. They may lack emotional trust in their spouse and fear that sharing will result in disappointment or rejection. This can result in loneliness, detachment, and resentment. Many couples report feeling disconnected from their partner and settle for a “roommate marriage.” They are convinced that nothing will change, but have chosen to stay for other reasons.
Let me make a suggestion. Try to figure out your partner’s needs or love language and focus on providing that to them for a period of time. Think of it like an experiment and decide to do it out of choice not obligation. For instance, if you start sharing words of affirmation with them, writing thoughtful notes about what you love about them, and notice their goodness, will it make a difference? Can people change when those around them change? It may help them appreciate you more since you’re working on meeting their needs, but it can also raise your own awareness of the value of serving others and not being self-absorbed. We can impact our loved ones in a big way when we intentionally work at loving them in the way they want to be loved. Love grows when it is nurtured and dies when it is neglected. Start now and watch it grow.