In close relationships partners tend to be, simultaneously or alternatively, perpetrators and victims of transgressions. Yet forgiveness has been examined primarily from the perspective of the victim and no research has investigated experienced inequity between receiving and giving forgiveness. Informed by equity and esteem enhancement theories, the present study investigated whether an imbalance between granting and receiving forgiveness in marriage affects subsequent psychological and relational well-being. Among married couples (n = 129), spouses agreed that husbands tended to be underbenefited and wives overbenefited in regard to marital forgiveness. For wives inequity in marital forgiveness predicted a decrease in personal and relational subjective well-being over a 6-month period. Interestingly, the prediction was significant even when controlling for underbenefited versus overbenefited status. Inequity predicted cross-partner well-being only indirectly through one's own well-being.
- couple relationship
- equity theory