It may not be a good idea to forgive your spouse for all the mistakes, as those who do are more likely to face additional bad behavior compared to those who stayed angry, suggests a new study.
Study author James McNulty, of the University of Tennessee said that the benefits of forgiveness might need to be weighed against the risks.You may feel better if you forgive me. But the question is, what happens down the road?" LiveScience quoted McNulty as saying.
"I measured, basically, people's tendency to be forgiving and partners' tendencies to engage in verbal and physical aggression.
"The partners of less-forgiving spouses actually showed a decrease... If I'm a forgiving person, you're going to keep [acting aggressively] for four years," said McNulty.
To track forgiveness, McNulty asked 135 heterosexual newlywed couples to fill out individual relationship diaries every day for a week.
The diaries included a questionnaire about whether the person's spouse had done something to upset them, and whether they'd forgiven their spouse for the transgression.
The husbands in the narrowed sample reported bad behavior from wives on about 29 percent of days, while wives reported bad behavior from husbands on about 34 percent of days.
Overall, spouses who forgave their partners were almost twice as likely to report that their partner misbehaved the next day as those who held a grudge, found McNulty.
However, the findings don't suggest that forgiveness is always bad nor is it a given that forgiving someone will turn you into a doormat, said McNulty.
"If I forgive you, I've given you no reason to stop. But if you rarely do it anyway, then that's not much of a problem," said McNulty.
The findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology.