Why you and partner fight

A new study published in the June edition of the journal
Psychological Assessment reveals that there are two main reasons behind every fight between spouses and partners.

Keith Sanford, PhD, an associate professor in the Psychology and Neuroscience department of Baylor University in the US state of Texas and a Couple Conflict Consultant, conducted two studies with 3539 married people that ranged from analyzing word choice in recounting a specific fight as well as self-reporting feeling and behavior during a fight.

Sanford and his researchers created and used a questionnaire, The Couples Underlying Concern Inventory, during the study to measure the couples' issues and assess the usefulness of the questionnaire.

The team concluded that during every fight, one person in the couple feels as though they are being neglected (the partner is not as committed, invested as the other would like) or threatened (blamed for something or controlled).

Open communication about your feelings with your partner is suggested if you are feeling neglected. Being open and honest about your needs could help you create a more meaningful relationship.

Perhaps Sanford's findings gave you an "aha" moment about your relationship. But keep in mind fights are healthy, it is important to release your anger and what is key is how you handle the disagreement or the way your partner is making you feel (neglected/threatened).

The science news site LiveScience has a section that logs their most emailed stories and two of the five address issues about getting along with your spouse.

Both of the articles were published in 2008, but clearly highlight that relationships are challenging.

The good news from one of the researchers is that you will live longer if you communicate your feelings, even if it is anger.  Unfortunately the bad news is that negativity only increases as your marriage ages and may be just a byproduct of constant togetherness.

Full Study, "Perceived threat and perceived neglect: Couples' underlying concerns during conflict": http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pas/22/2/288
"Spouses Who Fight Live Longer": http://www.livescience.com/health/080123-spouse-fights.html
"Marriage: It's Only Going to Get Worse": http://www.livescience.com/health/080205-spouse-negative.html

 

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