Close Romantic Relationships: Maintenance and Enhancement

By John H. Harvey; Amy Wenzel | Go to book overview

2
Empathic Accuracy and Preemptive
Relationship Maintenance
Jeffry A. Simpson
Texas A&M University William Ickes
University of Texas at Arlington Minda Oriña
Texas A&M University

In a recent theoretical article, Harvey and Omarzu (1997) introduced the concept of minding, which refers to a range of cognitive and behavioral activities that individuals can use to manage and maintain their close relationships. Minding includes many obvious, perceptible acts such as encouraging joint self-disclosure in a relationship, communicating acceptance and respect for one's partner, and acknowledging ways in which both partners make significant contributions to the relationship. All of these behaviors facilitate the development and maintenance of close relationships (see Berscheid & Reis, 1998; Reis & Shaver, 1988, for reviews). However, some less perceptible acts and cognitions also fall within the general definition of minding. For example, individuals can deliberately make relationship-enhancing attributions; reconstruct the history of their relationship to accentuate its positive aspects; adopt highly optimistic, pollyannaish views of the relationship; or find ways to accentuate their shared sense of self with their partner in the relationship. Although these less perceptible acts and cognitions are less frequently studied than the more perceptible ones, they also play significant roles in the management and maintenance of close relationships.

Harvey and Omarzu (1997) raised several important points in their article, two of which are particularly relevant to the present chapter. First, they suggested that relationship maintenance is not merely something that partners do once relationship problems or difficulties have reared

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