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Any relationship that goes beyond a superficial level will involve conflict at some point, and there are few relationships that force us to reckon with our flaws as marriage does. A new study recently published in Family Process has found that happily married and unhappily married couples all deal with challenges in the same areas of life…but it’s how they approach those issues that makes all the difference in the quality of their marriages.
“Being able to successfully differentiate between issues that need to be resolved versus those that can be laid aside for now may be one of the keys to a long-lasting, happy relationship,” says Amy Rauer, the study’s lead author.
Married - Couples - Tackle - Hard - Discussions
How Happily Married Couples Tackle Hard Discussions
The study, called “What are the Marital Problems of Happy Couples? A Multimethod, Two-Sample Investigation,” evaluated two groups of married couples who said they were happy in their marriages. Sixty-four of the couples were in their early 70s and had been married an average of 42 years, while 57 of the couples were in their mid- to late-30s and had been married an average of nine years.
Sources - Conflict - Couples - Communication - Pressure
The greatest potential sources of conflict for the couples included communication, financial pressure, children, in-laws, and intimacy. Older couples also mentioned health. All of the couples said jealousy, religion, and family were among the issues that gave them the least amount of trouble.
Regarding how they attempted to resolve their differences, the people in the study universally spent more time on problems that had clearly defined answers. One example...
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