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It's not what you fight about, but how you fight

Posted by Ralph Ranalli October 2, 2007 09:16 AM


A study of nearly 4,000 men and women from Framingham, has shown that how often couples fight or what they fight about usually doesnít matter.

Instead, itís the nuanced interactions between men and women, and how they react to and resolve conflict, that appear to make a meaningful difference in the health of the marriage and the health of the couple, the New York Times reports today.

The Framingham couples were asked whether they typically vented their feelings or kept quiet in arguments with their spouse. Notably, 32 percent of the men and 23 percent of the women said they typically bottled up their feelings during a marital spat.

In men, keeping quiet during a fight didnít have any measurable effect on health. But women who didnít speak their minds in those fights were four times as likely to die during the 10-year study period as women who always told their husbands how they felt, according to the July report in Psychosomatic Medicine. Whether the woman reported being in a happy marriage or an unhappy marriage didnít change her risk.

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