Sex & Relationships

The argument tactic that leads to a happier marriage

A new study finds that women who do this during heated debates have better relationships.

a young couple talks over dinner

Keeping your cool can really help your relationship last (Photo iStock).

There’s good reason why Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler (in Gone with the Wind) could never make a marriage work. Neither of them had a cool enough head to keep the peace. The twosome had passion to spare, but sadly not enough sense to realize that conflict only breeds more conflict.

A new study by U.S. researchers found that the ability to keep a relatively cool head (especially for women) during a heated exchange is the secret to a happy union.

For the study, researchers at the University of California and Northwestern University followed more than 80 couples intermittently over a 13-year period. Over that time they observed the couples during discussions of a heated subject. The researchers monitored the participants’ physiological responses, including their blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature during these moments too.

They focused on one particular facet of inter-couple squabbling: how upset an individual became during an argument and how long it took them to calm down.

People that managed to bring themselves back to a calm, reasonable state of mind quickly were more likely to report marital satisfaction than those who stayed angry or upset for a longer period.

That’s not all the researchers discovered. They also determined that the female partner in the relationship wields a great deal of influence when it comes to the couple’s joint satisfaction with the relationship. Women that recovered their emotional equilibrium quickly were part of happier unions. Oddly enough the same wasn’t true when men calmed down faster.

What is it about an emotionally mature woman that makes the difference?

Is it that women who know when to pump the brakes on negative emotions hold the keys to marital happiness? Maybe they’re more in tune with emotional upset and are therefore more likely to want to bring conflict into harmony with problem-solving solutions?

Either way it sure looks like a calm wife equals a happy life.

Are you typically the first one to calm down during a fight with your partner? Tell us in the comment section below.