Couples who fight live longer

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My husband and I are both pretty adept in the art of conflict avoidance. Neither of us likes to fight and we rarely engage in a good knock-down, drag-out. Not that we get along perfectly all the time, but sometimes it just seems easier to leave it be than to poke around in it and stir up an argument. Sometimes I think we are just too lazy to fight.

Whatever the reason for our peace-keeping ways, researchers at the University of Michigan believe that we might be actually be shortening our lives by doing it. Preliminary results of a 17-year study of 192 married couples find that couples who argue live longer.

The couples in the study ranged in age from 35 to 69 and fell into one of four categories: 1) both partners communicate their anger; 2) and 3) one spouse expresses while the other suppresses, and 4) both the husband and wife suppress their anger and brood.

The researchers found that the couples in category 4 (my husband and I) are twice as likely to have an early death than couples in the other categories. It seems that all that "mutual anger suppression, poor communication (of feelings and issues) and poor problem-solving " truly is hazardous to your health.

Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Psychology Department explains it this way:

"When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict. Usually nobody is trained to do this. If they have good parents, they can imitate, that's fine, but usually the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict. The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it? When you don't, if you bury your anger, and you brood on it and you resent the other person or the attacker, and you don't try to resolve the problem, then you're in trouble."

I am going to share this article with my husband tonight. Right after I rip him a new one for leaving his nasty slippers in the middle of the living room again.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.