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Fight Your Way to Happier Marriage

By Lori Garcia |

My husband and I argue about damn near everything. From how often to shut down the computer, to how awesome I drive, to the temperature on the thermostat, we argue about it … agree to disagree … and then argue some more. It’s exhausting, infuriating, and the secret to a happy marriage? Quite possibly.

According to The Stir, a new study published by Florida State University found that couples who fight find themselves in longer and happier marriages. You don’t say…

While the majority of us make at least half-assed attempts to avoid confrontation our marriages, study findings suggest that “angry but honest” arguments are a more effective method of conflict resolution than “the forgiveness, optimism, kindness, and positive thinking promoted by positive psychology,” according to the Daily News.

Florida State University researcher James McNulty basically wants married peoples to know that choosing to forgive and forget in isolation isn’t the best way to roll – not by a long shot.

Say his dirty clothes beside the hamper instead of inside the hamper drives you bat-shit crazy (hypothetically speaking, of course). For years you’ve bent down to pick up his dirty socks without saying a word because it felt petty. You internalized your anger, mocked him behind exaggerated eye rolls, and told him off in some deliciously hostile internal dialog. As much as you’d like to believe you’re doing yourself and your marriage a favor keeping your lips sealed, McNulty disagrees.

Study research suggests there’s no incentive to change what we don’t perceive to be a problem; so speak up! “If the partner can do something to resolve a problem that is likely to otherwise continue and negatively affect the relationship,” said McNulty, “people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger.” I’ll drink to that.

McNulty’s findings support research from a University of Washington study of newlyweds discussed in 5 Ways to Gauge Your Marital Health. The newlywed study concluded that couples who avoided early conflict were more likely to be divorced or in troubled marriages, while couples who fought early on were more likely to be in stable marriages for having argued out their differences.

I’m all for choosing your battles, but big stuff and habitually annoying small stuff  deserve outspoken attention. For the love of matrimony, discuss the things that bother you. Get it all out there, find a way to deal with it (like oh say, getting a bigger hamper), and then kiss and make-up; your marriage will thank you.

What are your thoughts on fighting it out?

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More on Strollerderby:

5 Ways to Gauge Your Marital Health

How to Be a Good Wife (According to a 1950′s Home Ec Book)

Behind my Bedroom Door



More on Babble

About Lori Garcia


Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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