For couples who find themselves constantly bickering with each other, have hope. A new study found that people in marriages tend to have less disagreements with their partners as they age.
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, videotaped conversations of 87 baby boomer couples who have been married for more than 15 years. The husbands and wives’ interactions were analyzed over the course of 13 years. The study found that with age, couples displayed higher levels of positive behaviors like humor and affection and a drop in negative behaviors like criticism and defensiveness.
“Our findings shed light on one of the great paradoxes of late life,” Robert Levenson, a Berkeley psychology professor and co-author of the study, wrote in a press release. “Despite experiencing the loss of friends and family, older people in stable marriages are relatively happy and experience low rates of depression and anxiety. Marriage has been good for their mental health.”
The study also found that over time, wives displayed higher levels of domineering behavior and less affection.
“Young women identify with more feminine energy,” Bianca Rodriguez, a Los Angeles-based family and relationships therapist, told The Post. “But as we get older, we become more masculine after the age of 50 because our [estrogen levels] change.”
Rodriguez also adds that emotionally mature couples who make it through the first 10 years of marriage can look back and laugh at their petty arguments.
“Couples who’ve been together for 20, or 30 years have been able to withstand all the stress and navigating the hardships of their relationships,” Rodriguez said. “Couples who have this solid foundation learn what’s really important and not sweat the small stuff so much.”
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