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Rise in marital conflict linked to husband's poor health: Study

A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family has made the discovery that a husband's attitude and good health seem to play crucial role in preventing conflict among older couples who have been together for a long time.

Interestingly the study did not find a similar link between marital conflict and wife's health. Rather the study found that wives' characteristics and health play less of a role in limiting marital conflict. This could be because of different expectations among women and men in durable relationships, the study from University of Chicago said.

Lead author James Iveniuk from department of sociology at University of Chicago said, "Wives report more conflict if their husbands are in poor health."

"If the wife is in poor health, there does not seem to be any difference in terms of the quality of the marriage for the husband, " he further said.

The study was conducted on participants ranging in age from 63 to 90 years old and the average length of their relationships was 39 years.

"Wives whose husbands show higher levels of positivity reported less conflict. However, the wives' positivity had no association with their husbands' reports of conflict," Iveniuk said.

The study discovered that marital clashes are less about fighting or violence and more to do with if one spouse criticises the other, makes too many demands or simply gets on the other person's nerves.

Another noteworthy finding of the study is that men who identify themselves as neurotic or extraverts tend to have wives who complain more about the quality of the marriage.

On the other hand men with self-described neurotic wives may consider worrying to be a more "gender-appropriate" role for women.