Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dealing with rows and preventing divorce

How couples resolve their rows can have an impact on how long their relationships last. Researchers already know that destructive patterns, such as yelling at one another or calling one another names, lead to a higher chance of divorce but researchers from the University of Michigan have been looking into the influence of other patterns of behaviour. They studied 373 couples who were interviewed four times over a 16-year period, beginning in the first year of their marriage. They found that 29% of husbands and 21% of wives reported having no conflicts at all in their first year of marriage yet by the end of the study 46% had divorced. Whether or not couples reported any conflict during the first year of their marriage was not associated with whether they had divorced or not by the end of the study. Couples where both partners dealt with conflict constructively, by calmly discussing the situation, listening to their partner's point of view and trying hard to find out what they were feeling had the lowest divorce rate. Over the whole course of the study men were more likely to use constructive strategies, however, their behaviour stayed the same over the years whereas wives became much more likely to use constructive methods over time.

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