Does a married couple’s fighting style predict divorce?

Couples argue for many reasons and in many different ways. Some individuals shout, some throw things, some analyze and some completely shut down when confronted by his or her spouse. But is one of these fighting styles more toxic to a relationship than the other? Does fighting earlier on in marriage indicate that a couple is doomed for divorce? A study recently published by the University of Michigan offers some answers to these questions.

Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a 16-year study of 373 couples. Each couple was entered into the study during their first year of marriage. Researchers wanted to know if certain fighting styles and the amount of fighting between each couple would affect their chances of divorcing later on in life.

According to the study, 46 percent of couples who reported no fights during the first year of marriage ended up divorcing within 16 years. This may contradict the beliefs of many who think that fighting during the early years of marriage signifies a couple’s inability to resolve issues with each other. However, the couple who fights may be better off because they are learning to communicate their frustrations and worries.

Researchers also analyzed fighting styles of couples and determined that the most destructive response to an argument was for one spouse to withdraw from the conflict while the other analyzed the situation internally. When both spouses are quiet, nothing gets resolved and the problem lingers. Spouses may worry that the other’s lack of response signifies indifference or a lack of interest in the relationship.

The University of Michigan acknowledges that there is still a lot to learn about marriage and divorce, but the study’s results do offer some interesting insights. The study also offers some insight on how family law attorneys approach clients who are thinking about divorce. Divorce gets a bad reputation for causing long and expensive legal battles between individuals who cannot come to an agreement with each other. However, just as effective communication in marriage can keep a couple together, effective communication during divorce can prevent individuals from enduring a painful legal battle.

Family law attorneys understand how difficult a divorce can be on any individual, regardless if a marriage ends amicably or not. Lawyers in Illinois realize that each divorce case is unique, and there are different ways to assist clients with reaching agreements and settlements. Family law attorneys offer couples an alternative to the standard divorce process. Individuals who are focused on communication and collaborating with each other throughout the divorce process may find it beneficial to participate in divorce mediation. Mediation tends to be a less expensive and less stressful alternative to traditional litigation.

Couples interested in mediation can still resolve their legal conflicts regarding divorce, child custody, child support and division of marital property without going to trial. Although family law attorneys acknowledge that mediation may not be for every couple, they identify individuals that would be good candidates for the process and inform divorcing couples about the benefits of mediation as opposed to traditional divorce.

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