A new study has found that spouses who use "we-ness" language are better able to resolve conflicts than those who don't.
To reach the conclusion, UC Berkeley researchers analyzed conversations between 154 middle-aged and older couples about points of disagreement in their marriages and found that those who used pronouns such as "we," "our" and "us" behaved more positively toward one another and showed less physiological stress.
In contrast, couples who emphasized their "separateness" by using pronouns such as "I," "me" and "you" were found to be less satisfied in their marriages. This was especially true for older couples. Their use of separateness pronouns was most strongly linked to unhappy marriages, according to the study.
Moreover, the study found that older couples identified more as "we" than did their middle-aged counterparts, suggesting that facing obstacles and overcoming challenges together over the long haul, including raising families, may give couples a greater sense of shared identity.
The study has been published in the journal Psychology and Aging.
"The use of 'we' language is a natural outgrowth of a sense of partnership, of being on the same team, and confidence in being able to face problems together," said study co-author Benjamin Seider, a graduate student in psychology at UC Berkeley.