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Human beings are social entities – our development occurs in and through interaction with others. Thus, it seems likely that relationships influence the development of wisdom, especially long-term intimate relationships in which couples share many important life experiences, and that wisdom, in turn, influences relationships. How wisdom relates to characteristics of intimate relationships has received little attention in the research literature. As a first step in a research program addressing this question, this study analyzed associations between participants’ levels of wisdom and their views of a good relationship.
Design and Participants:
A sample of 155 individuals aged 23-90 years participated in two sessions including semi-structured qualitative interviews and questionnaires.
The participants were interviewed about their views of a good intimate relationship. Wisdom was measured using a self-report scale and two open-ended performance measures.
Wisdom was significantly related to some of the content categories identified in participants’ views about a good relationship, although some correlations differed between wisdom measures. Emphasizing the relevance of mutual respect and conscious attention in relationships was related to both performance measures of wisdom. Paying considerate attention to the relationship and viewing it as a chance for personal development were each related to one measure of wisdom.
The results support the notion that wisdom is related to how participants regulate long-term relationships. We consider them as a promising first step in a research program investigating the dynamic interrelation between wisdom and intimate relationships.