Positive illusions in marital relationships: A 13-year longitudinal study

Paul J.E. Miller, Sylvia Niehuis, Ted L. Huston

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63 Scopus citations


This study examined the long-term consequences of idealization in marriage, using both daily diary and questionnaire data collected from a sample of 168 newlywed couples who participated in a 4-wave, 13-year longitudinal study of marriage. Idealization was operationalized as the tendency for people to perceive their partner as more agreeable than would be expected based on their reports of their partner's agreeable and disagreeable behaviors. Spouses who idealized one another were more in love with each other as newlyweds. Longitudinal analyses suggested that spouses were less likely to suffer declines in love when they idealized one another as newlyweds. Newlywed levels of idealization did not predict divorce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1579-1594
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Agreeableness
  • Divorce
  • Idealization
  • Marriage
  • Positive illusions


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