Study Says Wives Are More Responsible for Marital Bliss Than Husbands

Say What!? 10

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

commitment, in the news, love, marriage

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nekoy... nekoyukidoll

no way.  A relationship is about working together, not one side having to do all the work.  My ex tried that crap once and lets just say, there's a reason he's my ex...

MammaSam MammaSam

I think my bf just waits out the storm so he doesn't have tofnd a solution. He let's me say my piece, sometimes yelling, then I walk away mad, he ignores it, I end up crying like an idiot, he comforts me, I pass out, problem gets ignored. Ya.. getting real tired of being the one to have to just let it go, when the problem still persists. And his mother thinks I'M the problem... FUNNY.

Katha... Katharine205

The woman sets the tone of the relationship (this really is true) and does tend to get more hysterical in arguements.  Think about it, how often do you see the man fly off the handle?  Usually (in my experience anyway) they get angry but it's more of a rational angry, if you can keep your yelling/crying/whining in check then it sets a smoother tone for the marriage.  And I say this a decade into my own marriage.  We've had some knock down drag out fights but it always works out better when I can keep it in check.  That doesn't mean I'm letting him win - most of the time I win but we're all better off when we can argue rationally.

youth... youthfulsoul

Men are lazy. Guess this proves that.

lulou lulou

Theres a conflict resolution/negotiation skill known as leveling.  Interestingly Harvey Karp also has this in his Happiest Baby/Toddler on the block book.

Lynette Lynette

I agree with this.  I won't accept comfort or an apology until I am ready.  I have to give DH a sign the fight just doesn't end. 

Michael Weldon

I would imagine a very large sample size would determine how correct this is (80 is too small).  If one sex or the other tended to spool up a lot more during arguments it would make sense that they would be the ones that need to calm down.  I tend to believe guys don't get as invested in most arguments, as typically they want whatever is causing the problem to simply go away.

nonmember avatar jadeous

Did you read the original article? I think you missed the point. it didn't say women had to calm down first, but things went generally better for both parties if the woman could calm down quickly after an argument. But hey, what do you know? You are getting divorced.

Tracys2 Tracys2

It can be a little exhausting when so much of the burden of keeping a marriage healthy falls on the woman.


I'd say that the calming down quickly would have an effect, but I'd also think things like not rolling eyes or otherwise disregarding the other person would be far more important.

nonmember avatar Katie

WOW... almost 36 hours later and my original comment has not been posted. Glad to see that the moderators are on top of their game.

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