Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




Navigating romantic transgressions in older adulthood is imperative for both relationship quality and longevity, making forgiveness a critical process. The current study examined marital transgressions and forgiveness among 64 older (age range = 56–89), higher-functioning, primarily White, married couples studied at two time points spaced 16.4 months apart. More than half the spouses did not report a transgression in the past year, and not doing so was associated with better marital functioning at both time points. Of the transgressions reported, thematic analyses revealed they fell into six categories (e.g., spouse behaving badly, financial issues), but were overall relatively minor in nature. If husbands engaged in greater avoidance after a transgression, both spouses were less maritally satisfied a year later. Findings suggest more attention to not only forgiveness approaches employed (avoidance of the issue versus avoidance of the person) but also to the potential role of gender and timing in these associations.