It can be hard for partners to view their disagreements impartially. In a recent study, 120 married couples were tracked for over a year, during which their marital quality generally decreased. After that year, half of the couples learned how to reappraise conflict by writing about their relationships from the viewpoint of an uninvolved, neutral third party, while the other half continued in their relationships without receiving any intervention. At the end of Year 2, the perspective-taking group did not experience additional declines in marital quality compared to the ‘normal’ group. These findings suggest that a bit of perspective-taking may go a long way.
Finkel, E. J., Slotter, E. B., Luchies, L. B., Walton, G. M., & Gross, J. J. (2013). A brief intervention to promote conflict reappraisal preserves marital quality over time. Psychological Science, 24(8), 1595-1601.