A new study on marriage recently found that wives may play a bigger role than their husbands in conflict resolution, and the key to long-term marital happiness may be her ability to stay calm during and after spats.

Psychologists at UC Berkeley analyzed more than 80 couples’ videotaped interactions following disagreements. Lead author of the study Lian Bloch found that “wives’ recovery time after conflicts had a larger impact on the relationship than the husbands’ both in the long and short term.”

“When it comes to managing negative emotion during conflict, wives really matter," she said. “Emotions such as anger and contempt can seem very threatening for couples. But our study suggests that if spouses, especially wives, are able to calm themselves, their marriages can continue to thrive."

Say what now? So let me get this straight -- wives, who already have a predisposition to feel a huge amount of pressure to “do it all” now can blame themselves for marital strife by not being the first to yield in the heat of an argument?

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They must have only asked the men about their levels of marital happiness, because of course men are going to be happier when their wives cede first -- they’re the ones that are more inclined to go with the status quo. That’s living the male dream, baby!

Let’s see, wife is unhappy about something, we have a fight, and she eventually calms herself down from her female dramatics and comes up with a solution. Problem solved and everything is back the way it should be.

Insert eye roll here.

And who are these women that are happier when they’re the ones that always have to do the hard thing to calm down first? When you’re in the middle of it and frustrated with your spouse over their bull-headedness, I can imagine it would be very frustrating to always have to shelve your own bull-headedness first.

I thought marriage was supposed to be about give and take. Sometimes you’re the stubborn one, and sometimes you’re the calm one. It seems like a recipe for disaster for things to get too one-sided.

But what do I know? I’m getting divorced.

Do you think it should be one person’s job in a marriage to calm down first when arguing?


Image via Theophile Escargot/Flickr