Fighting May Be the Secret to a Happy Marriage

angry coupleIf you're a sweet, forgiving, positive-thinking kinda lady, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. A new study out of Florida State University found that marriages are happier and last longer when the couple fights. If you express anger and get in disagreements with your spouse, it's better than coming to the conclusion alone that you'll forgive and forget.

This whole time we thought that we were so enlightened, so zen for not speaking up about what's bothering us, but the truth is, we've been doing ourselves and our relationships a giant disservice. IT'S TIME TO YELL AND LET IT OUT ALREADY, GODDAMNIT!

According to researcher James McNulty, it's normal and healthy to have temporary disagreements. And if that means getting loud, maybe slamming a door or two, so be it. It's better in the long run to say how you're feeling because if you don't, it's possible your partner will remain unaware that he's pissing you off, because you've internalized the problem and forgiven him without letting him know you're angry in the first place, and he'll continue making the mistake.

This goes for the big and the little things alike -- if you're pissed he keeps loading the dishwasher with food on the plates so that when you go to unload it, you have the added task of scraping bits of egg of the dishes, say something. Don't just think positively and remind yourself how happy you are; feel the anger, beeeee the anger, express it, then get over it.

McNulty says, "People may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger," SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET MAD.

Do you prefer to fight it out, or keep small problems to yourself?


Photo via hang in there/Flickr



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momto... momtolittleg

i VERY RARELY am able to let it all out and scream at my hubby.  I wish I could do it, but part of the problem is that he's really easy going and doesn't fight back, so it makes me feel bad to yell at him.  I do wish we could have make-up sex, though!

Pinkmani Pinkmani

"If you're a sweet, forgiving, positive-thinking kinda lady, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG." Really? My parents never fight, and they're still married - going on 40-something years... 

You don't have to yell and throw a bitch-fit over every thing he does that does that bothers you. Sometimes you have to suck things up. 

Alicia Kiner

My husband and I explain it this way... if we can bicker and fight over the stupid every day stuff, the important big stuff won't come up and bite us in the butt out of nowhere. So far, 11 years in, we still work. Yes that's really not long, but when you factor in the fact that we're both about to turn 31, and we've been together over 1/3 of our lives, and we've managed to survive being teenagers and him being a deployed soldier, not too shabby. Bottom line, communication has to be open. That doesn't mean screaming at the top of your lungs at each other on a daily basis, but you do have to let the other know when they're doing something that doesn't work for you. You also have to let them know when they do something that does. You have to work together. Ask that couple that's been married 40+ years

nonmember avatar Tonya

We fight passionately. And love passionately. I don't think everything needs to be a battle, but sometimes you've got to blow off some steam if you're wired like my husband and I are. We've been (mostly) happily married for 17 years and together 29, so I do believe that a good fight now and then keeps the lines of communication open.

nonmember avatar CJ

There is no reason to fight like children. It's much more productive to talk things out like adults. When fights happen things that are not meant are said, feelings get hurt and that is hard to get over. Yelling at your spouse is immature.

In the 20+ years that I have been with my husband we have never been in an argument. We just don't see the need. We don't always see eye to eye, but we don't fight we talk.

Salem... SalemWitchChild

What is wrong with this study is that it assumes you need to yell and scream at one another (and slam doors) to communicate. WRONG! As a matter of fact, doing those things are disrespectful to your SO. Dh and I grew up in homes with lots of fighting and let me tell you it has an affect on the whole household, not just the grown ups. Early on in our relationship, DH and I made it a priority never to fight. We talk about our problems calmly and rationally. You know, like adults should. Only children are suppose to have temper tantrums.

Emily Carter Kallas

First of all, I think "fighting" is the wrong term for what this study was actually talking about. Having an argument or a disagreement are very different than fighting. Getting into a heated debate about something isn't a bad thing. Slamming doors and out-and-out yelling isn't necessary, though. 

When you have two individual people with different personalities, opinions, and feelings, living together in the same household, conflict is bound to arise at some point. Even if you agree on things most of the time. My husband and I always try to argue constructively. We keep it on point, don't dredge up old arguments, and keep it respectful. There have been times when one or both of us has gotten so angry that we've had to walk away from the conversation to avoid resorting to saying something we can't take back. But after we've had a chance to cool off and think about what the other was saying, we come back to find a resolution, or at the very least a compromise. I always try to be honest, but tactful. I want to get my point across, but I don't want to hurt feelings. Sometimes that's unavoidable, but we always work through it. 

So, yes... arguing once in a while is healthy. Fighting, not so much.

Mandi... Mandi1215

My husband and I bicker.  13 years and we have been bickering at each other the whole time, it works for us.  We are not the TLC couple that baby each other, you know "Baby this" and "Baby that".  We get over it quick, we rarely get into big blow outs.  Twice in 13 years we've really got into it, but we were going through some very stressful issues.  We also have these little spats in front of our kids sometimes.   My kids know that in real life mom and dad have disagreements and we WILL get over them.  It's important that my kids see us also be playful.  They know mom and dad argue and they know mom and dad are going to make up.

nonmember avatar 4evermyboys

I agree that letting your spouse know you're upset is valid but I do think that care has to be taken to be sure of what is angering you and express it well and without too much emotion (yelling/slamming doors = too much emotion since no one is listening at this point, imo). By the way, I've been married to the same man for over 28 years and we've been together for almost 31 and this is how we handle our disagreements.

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