Think about how much you and your significant other fight.
Are you in a relationship where there’s little or no conflict? Or maybe it’s the opposite for you; you and your loved one go at it on a regular basis. A new study from Ohio State University suggests that your current level of conflict probably won’t change much for the remainder of your marriage.
That may be good news for the 16% of couples who report little conflict or even the 60% who have only moderate levels of conflict. But it's bad news for the 22% of couples who say they fight and argue a lot.
“There wasn’t much change in conflict over time,” said Claire Kamp Dush, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.
“There was a very slight decrease in the amount of conflict reported in the final years of the study, which was slightly larger for the high-conflict couples. Still, the differences over time were small.”
Kamp Dush conducted the study with Miles Taylor of Florida State University. The study followed nearly 1,000 couples over 20 years, from 1980 to 2000.
The researchers found that people in low-conflict marriages were more likely than others to say they shared decision-making with their spouses.
“That’s interesting because you might think that making decisions jointly would create more opportunities for conflict, but that’s not what we found,” Kamp Dush said.
“It may be that if both spouses have a say in decision making, they are more satisfied with their relationship and are less likely to fight.”
In my opinion, it makes sense that people in the lower conflict group were also more likely than those who reported high levels of conflict to say that they believed in traditional, life-long marriage. This was proven in the study.
“People who believe marriage should last forever may also believe that fighting is just not worth it. They may be more likely to just let disagreements go,” Kamp Dush said.