Nobody enjoys arguing with their spouse, but beyond being a nuisance that leads to raised voices and hurt feelings, new research suggests that marital conflict is a risk factor for poor health.
A team of researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah found that couples that do not argue have better overall health and live longer than couples that constantly bicker with each other.
For the study, which spanned two decades, researchers measured the physical health and answers to frequent surveys on arguments, happiness and quality of life of nearly 1,700 married adult couples. The not-so shocking results? The more a couple argued, the worse their overall health, findings that suggest that being happily married could lead to a longer life.
Happy twosomes are more likely to look after each other; prepare and eat healthier meals together; encourage each other to kick nasty habits; get more sleep, thanks to reduced stress levels; and enjoy doing leisure activities together, often outdoors.
"When spouses have a bad day, in a happy marriage, they're more likely to support each other and empathize with each other. That support reduces stress and helps buffer against a decline in health," the study's lead researcher Rick Miller told The Telegraph.
So, the next time you start fighting about your finances or which in-laws you'll spend Christmas with this year, remember that a level-headed, less-heated discussion could help improve your life expectancy.
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