How Well Do You Mind Your
Relationship? A Preliminary Scale to
Test the Minding Theory of Relating
Southwestern Community College, Iowa
Joanne Whalen John H. Harvey
The University of Iowa
Satisfying close relationships are important to individuals' mental and physical health. One of the most valued types of relationships is built with an intimate, romantic partner. There has been a great deal of investigation into how individuals choose such partners, but there is still much to be understood about how romantic partnerships are maintained over the long term. In a society where one out of two marriages will likely end in divorce, a theory of relationships that delineates the factors leading to long-lasting, satisfying partnerships could be beneficial to many people searching for such relationships.
Harvey and Omarzu (1997, 1999) proposed such a theory. The Minding Theory of relationships suggests that various types of expectations and cognitive patterns are conducive to satisfying close relationships. The idea that cognition is important to relationships is not new. Many experts have written about the importance of attribution in relationships (e.g., Bradbury & Fincham, 1990; Kelley, 1979; Orvis, Kelley, & Butler, 1976). Murray, Holmes, and Griffin (1996) presented evidence that the cognitive representations successful romantic partners have of each other may be idealistic, even unrealistic. Altman and Taylor's (1973) early social penetration theory addressed the importance of sharing increasingly intimate knowledge about each other, including thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. However, previous research focuses on specific aspects of relationship behavior or attitudes. The Minding Theory builds on many of these ideas, creating a theory that attempts to predict overall relationship satisfaction. There are