No two people are the same and even the happiest of couples will have things that create tension between them. There are many reasons couples often squabble with one another including jealousy, religion, in-laws, housework, stress, raising kids, politics, and sex. Probably the number one reason couples get into a snit with one another is finances, and their different saving and spending styles.
While all of that is old news, some more recent news is a study provided by the Brigham Young University in Utah that found couples who don’t argue are healthier and live longer than couples who live in conflict. The results of the study showed that the more couples argued, the worse their overall health became as an indirect result.
The theory behind this is that couples who are happily married take care of their loved ones. They support one another during stressful times, creating a buffer against the problems that anxiety can generate. They also typically prepare and eat healthier meals together; whereas, adversarial couples generally eat on the fly which is often fast or convenience food that is not very nutritious.
Contented couples also get more sleep and encourage one another to adopt healthier lifestyles that may include outdoor activities and exercise. On the flip side, controversial couples are more likely to pick up bad habits such as substance abuse, smoking, or overeating which can lead to a number of health issues that may shorten their lifespan. Bottom line: marital conflict may put your health at risk.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean you should avoid conflict because that can create its own subset of problems. However, there are steps you can take to openly and calmly discuss issues while finding peaceful resolutions. Finding Common Ground With Your Spouse is essential so that you can Avoid Communication Meltdowns in Marriage, and these two previous blog posts provide tips on how to do that.
In a nutshell, you should treat one another with respect even when discussing controversial matters. Take the time to listen to your partner without judgment so that you can hear all of the facts. Remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just because your spouse disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are wrong or they have to change. Remain open and ask questions so that you can have a better understanding of the situation. Don’t forget that you are both on the same team. You want the best for each other, so there is no need to let petty disagreements get in the way of a happy relationship.
Many couples simply don’t know how to communicate and handle conflict. However, skills to handle disagreements and work out compromises can be learned from a qualified mental health professional or therapist. Don’t wait for all of the little, random things to pile up and cause a big, ugly explosion. Find out how it’s possible to live “happily ever after.”