Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Married couples argue less as they age

25 January 2015, 10:37

Nairobi - One of the benefits of a long marriage may be fewer arguments as the years go by, a new study finds.

Researchers at San Francisco State University report that as married couples grow older, they become more likely to handle disagreements by simply changing the subject.

The findings are in keeping with prior research showing that as people age, they avoid conflict in favor of more positive experiences, to try to make the best of their remaining years.

How the study was done

The new study included 127 long-time married couples in middle or old age who were followed for 13 years. They were videotaped during 15-minute talks centered on contentious topics ranging from housework to finances.

The researchers wanted to see if the couples' use of a common and harmful type of communication - called the demand-withdraw pattern - changed as they aged. In this pattern, one partner blames or pressures the other for change, while the other partner tries to avoid talking about the problem and withdraws from the discussion.

This type of avoidance generally is believed to cause damage to relationships because it prevents conflict resolution, and this may be particularly true for younger couples who may be dealing with issues that are newer to them.

Most aspects of demand-withdraw communication remained steady over time among the couples in the study, the researchers said, but with age both partners became more prone to changing the subject or diverting attention away from the argument.

The researchers reasoned that older couples have already had decades to voice their disagreements, so avoidance may be a way for them to move the conversation away from "toxic" areas and toward something more pleasant.

Shift in communication

The age of the partners in a marriage appears to drive this shift in communication, but the change might also be influenced by the length of the relationship.

"It may not be an either/or question. It may be that both age and marital duration play a role in increased avoidance," study author Sarah Holley, an assistant professor of psychology and director of the university's Relationships, Emotion and Health Lab, said.

In order to learn more about these influences, Holley hopes to compare older couples in long-term marriages with older newlywed couples.

Holley said demand-withdraw communication occurs in all kinds of couples. She compared heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples in a 2010 study and found "strong support for the idea that the partner who desires more change ... will be much more likely to occupy the demanding role, whereas the partner who desires less change -- and therefore may benefit from maintaining the status quo -- will be more likely to occupy the withdrawing role."

- Health Day.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter 
and like our Facebook page!

- Health24

Tags marriage

Why he does not call your name

25 October 2016, 10:49

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Why he does not call your name

A slip of the tongue can happen just any time. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Why Boniface Mwangi wants DP Ruto...

Photojournalist and activist Boniface Mwangi is now demanding for the Deputy President William Ruto’s tax returns. Read more...

Submitted by
Vincent Munga
Jambojet increases flight frequen...

Jambojet will increase its flights to Mombasa from 22 to 31 flights a week, while Kisumu, Eldoret and Ukunda will have a total of 20 flights per week each.  Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Al Shabaab attack Mandera hotel, ...

A total of 33 non-locals were in the hotel when the assault was launched.  Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?