The researchers looked at 450 heterosexual couples who had been together for an average of 10 years. In two 14-day measurement periods, the individuals in each couple wrote down whether they tried to avoid conflicts on that day or to exchange meaningful experiences with their partner. These measurement periods were continued sporadically over a period of 10 to 12 months.
After the partners reported their daily goals, the researchers analyzed how that information affected their partner's goals.
According to the study, one partner's response generally influenced the other's. When one person avoids conflict, the other tries to do the same. If one person wants to communicate, achieve personal growth, or share meaningful moments, the other partner wants to be successful in these areas as well.