Longitudinal relations between forgiveness and conflict resolution in marriage

J Fam Psychol. 2007 Sep;21(3):542-5. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.3.542.


Does forgiveness predict later conflict resolution in married couples? Twelve-month follow-up data on conflict resolution were collected from the couples studied by F. D. Fincham, S. R. Beach, and J. Davila, who had provided earlier reports of forgiveness and conflict resolution. For wives, the positive dimension of forgiveness or benevolence predicted husbands' later reports of better conflict resolution controlling for initial levels of conflict resolution. This finding was independent of wives' marital satisfaction and the degree of hurt engendered by husbands' transgressions. For husbands, the only predictor of wives' reports of later conflict resolution was initial level of conflict resolution. The findings are discussed in terms of the direction of effect between forgiveness and conflict resolution and of the mechanisms that might link them.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guilt*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*