Your marriage is going to get worse?

Posted by Ria, 15 Feb 08

The longer couples are together, they more they find each other annoying and demanding, a study says. But their relationships with their kids and friends improve.

According to a recent study by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, views toward each other in a marriage only get more demanding and irritating as time goes on. This possibly stems from accumulated contact, and over time, frequent demands or nitpicking that resulted in a minor tiffs now create major dismay.

If your spouse already bugs you now, then the future is bleak. As per some new research, couples see one another as even more irritating and demanding the longer they are together.

"As we age and become closer and more comfortable with one another, it could be that we're more able to express ourselves to each other," said lead study author Kira Birditt. "In other words, it's possible that negativity is a normal aspect of close relationships that include a great deal of daily contact."

However, as marriages hit rock bottom, other relationships – with friends and children - improved, since with friends, we have the ability to discard the ones that irritate us - reducing overall negativity.

Among the participants, those with the worst relationships overall were in their 20s or 30s.

"Older adults are more likely than younger people to report that they try to deal with conflict by avoiding confrontations, rather than by discussing problems," Birditt said.

This increased negativity could be a normal part of relationships.

"Because we found that pattern was overall among the participants, it appears to be normative. It's not something unusual that happens," Birditt said.

Each participant rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with these two statements: • "My (spouse/partner, child, friend) gets on my nerves." • "My (spouse/partner, child, friend) makes too many demands on me."

In all age groups, the participants reported viewing their spouse as the most negative compared with children and friends and this negativity seemed to increase over time. Much as gerontological research suggests that as people age they get better at regulating their emotions and experience less negative relationships, the study found that it depends on the relationship in question.

In general, the longer spouses stay together, the more they have to deal with the other's idiosyncrasies.

How has your relationship with your spouse changed over the years? How about with your children and friends? [tags]marriage over time[/tags]

Responses to "Your marriage is going to get worse?"

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  1.   Jeff says:
    Posted: 11 Mar 08

    Yes. Your marriage is almost certainly going to get worse. -Jeffrey

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  2.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 06 Mar 08

    Leave it to Michigan to waste money researching the obvious!! Oh the value of a UM education

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  3.   HereIamBaby says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 08

    What brought you togethetr...can keep you together... work on it you made a commitment to each other... Southern smiles, Sharon

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  4.   nfl24 says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 08

    Marraige is a 2 way street. It takes work Communication, ability to listen, understanding and space. I believe that marriage should always schedule at least 3 vactions a year. 1 family, 1 together just you and spouse/husband and one with just friends or yourself. I wouldn't worry if my spouse was cheating because if they want they can cheat anywhere right in front of your face. Just couples need to separate from each other awhile. It becomes more like a job then anything else. Just compare your job and marriage. New Job starts everything is exciting new freash you learning new things new people new friendships. Then you there for a couple years and everything becomes the same routine you become bored and complacent makes you want to look for something different. New relationships first you with your friends then you meet new girlfriend/boyfriend and everything is exciting and new you even kind of push your friendship back a little (your friends give you your space. Then you are together so much that you miss your friends and want to hang with them but you become complacent in the relationship you don't hang wit friends as much cause you two are together and now it somewhat boring and that is where doubt and the cheating (cause cheating is new and exciting). Anyways just my point of view on things I see not saying I am right or wrong just makes you think though.

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  5.   HereIamBaby says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 08

    Pick your battles and laugh a lot...remember what once was cute...that has become irritating...can now be cured if you really want your relationship to work. But any relationship has to be worked on. It is like school...each day you learn something new and the rest is just repaeted. Good luck with your lives...you only have one... PEACE, Shaorn

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  6.   fala says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 08

    See, that's why I'm not getting married.

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  7.   Fkoi says:
    Posted: 16 Feb 08

    First of all let's just admit it. This study came out of the University of Michigan, so it has to be good (Go Blue!). But seriously folks, I have seen it often over the years. Spouses get on each others' nerves. Especially early on and later on. In my 20s, it seemed like I needed to win every argument and took Davey Crockett's approach, "Be sure you're right, then go ahead." Unfortunately, my wife (my ex-wife now, needless to say) took the same approach, or at least seemed to. What we didn't see then was that just 'coz I was right, it didn't mean you were wrong. And sometimes it was over the most meaningless of topics (should the point of a knife be put in the drainer up or down? I can't say it really matters to me today). Naturally, I got on my wife's (last) nerve. Today we are good friends but the frayed nerves cost us our marriage. If in those early days, when we were just getting to know each other, we had applied the "will we remember what we are fighting about in a year?" rule, we would have been better off. In my parents' 57th year of marriage, they would still have tiff's over some (to me) silly stuff. By then, they had a lot of time invested and didn't want to cut their losses (and also had lots of love for each other). By then they knew each other and had learned to accept each others' idiosyncrasies (albeit with some grousing on occasion). I believe that young or old, the key is communication. Making "I" statements rather than "you" statements is a better way of dealing with things. That way there are no absolutes. "I feel this way" can't be argued with, but doesn't mean you are evil. On the other hand, what do I know? I'm single.

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