Researchers at the University of Michigan have performed a lengthy study to see if they could determine the risks of divorce based on the way couples argue. They followed 373 couples over a timeframe of 16 years, starting with their first year of marriage. The results of the study revealed some surprising data.
If you, like most people, assume the couples who have the most explosive arguments are the ones who are most likely to divorce, you are wrong. This study found that the most dangerous type of fight involved one spouse calmly trying to analyze a situation while the other withdraws. This withdrawal is generally viewed as lack of interest in a relationship and has been shown to seriously damage marriages.
The study also revealed some significant differences between the way men and women argue. Overall, men were shown to use more constructive fighting methods than women. Although, over the years, women came to rely less on destructive arguing methods, such as withdrawing, while the husbands’ fighting style remained the same.
Why do women’s fighting methods shift over time? Researchers speculate that problems that bother women earlier in their marriages are often later resolved. Also, because relationships are generally a major part of women’s lives, wives eventually analyze, identify and rectify the use of destructive arguing styles.
The study also indicates that whether or not couples fought during their first year of marriage did not impact whether or not they stayed together. Researchers found that 29 percent of men and 21 percent of women reported not fighting throughout the first year of marriage. However, 46 percent of these couples were divorced by year 16.
This study provides interesting insight into the complex relationships between men and women. Understanding how people operate is an important first step to making constructive changes to strengthen a relationship. However, sometimes dissolving a marriage is the best decision for all involved. In that situation, an experienced divorce attorney can be invaluable.