Never fighting with your spouse could be deadly

January 24, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 9:13 am   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

A new study in the news today is indicating that married couples who are willing to argue with each other (and resolve the arguments) live longer than those who keep it in. Those of you who felt bad about not keeping up with the old advice to never go to bed angry in a marriage can breathe a sigh of relief.


  1. Holding in disagreements *is* worse than arguing. But, those spouses who do not argue because they are in agreement with common views or common approaches to dispute resolution live longer than the arguing spouses.

    Comment by mondo cool — January 24, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  2. “Never go to bed angry” might be the worst advice ever to become universally accepted.

    Comment by Jacob J — January 24, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  3. Hehe. I agree Jacob. Apparently chestnuts can go bad over time too…

    Comment by Geoff J — January 24, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  4. You can resolve disputes without arguing. Usually, I suspect, arguments arise because of poor communication which leads to misunderstandings erupting as arguments. If you can communicate and resolve disputes before it reaches the argument stage it’s best.

    Comment by Clark — January 24, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

  5. I would think that many LDS might have better training for this aspect of marriage than average, since many (1) come from larger families where they have roommates, etc. and (2) have had to learn to deal with missionary companions.

    Comment by Naismith — January 24, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  6. Dealing with crappy companions on ones mission definitely at a minimum provides patience most people don’t have.

    Comment by Clark — January 24, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  7. The headline is misleading and illogically derived.

    The assumption is that their are only two courses of action: suppress anger or let it out. There are ways to deal with anger that don’t include fighting.

    Comment by Eric Russell — January 24, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  8. we have amended it. “Never go to bed angry – stay up and fight!”

    Comment by colleen — January 24, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  9. That explains my 26 year marriage.

    Comment by annegb — January 24, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  10. Those of you who felt bad about not keeping up with the old advice to never go to bed angry in a marriage can breathe a sigh of relief.

    I don’t follow this. The Point of never going to bed angry is that you don’t keep the anger inside, but instead work to resolve the issue. keeping the anger inside is going to bed angry…

    Comment by Matt W. — January 24, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  11. Clark and Eric,

    You both seem to assume arguing (which couples sometimes call “fighting”) necessarily entails things like shouting or hurling epithets or dishes at each other… I’m not sure that is a safe assumption. Arguing can take the form of largely calm but assertive disagreements too can’t it?

    I think the point is that failing to work through disagreements potentially can have negative side effects on one’s health.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2008 @ 2:29 am

  12. Matt W.,

    I suppose that if a couple can stay up late enough to resolve conflicts and thus no longer feel riled up you are right. My guess is that in many, many cases a good night of sleep would clear the heads and soothe the souls of formerly angry couples. In other words, I totally agree with Jacob’s #2. Getting some sleep is often a wonderful way to get over crankiness.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  13. Geoff, I’m not sure I’d call that a fight.

    Comment by Clark — January 25, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  14. Right — that was my point Clark. The definition of a “fight” in a marriage is not something we have established here at all.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  15. Over the years my wife and I have learned that certain discussions should not take place after 9 pm. I have also found that a good nights sleep can clear my head, calm me down, and get me ready to accept the fact that I was wrong!!!!

    Comment by Huck Finn — January 25, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  16. Geoff, I guess I mentally seperate anger and crankiness. Maybe that’s my mistake. If I go to bed with my wife angry at me, I get physically ill, and have to wake her up and bother her until I can be assuaged she is no longer mad at me. Maybe it’s just a me thing.

    Oddly, I can’t think of a time I’ve had the option of going to bed angry at my wife…

    Comment by Matt W. — January 26, 2008 @ 7:37 am

  17. Aw hell, a good fight is cathartic. It allows things to be brought up and emotions to be vented. But the fight must have some rules. For one, no personal derogatory attacks. Another: No physical displays, etc.

    Boy you guys seem to have a different take on the adage “never go to bed angry” I always thought that meant you had your fight early so you can makeup afterwards and then snuggle. Oh well.


    Comment by Rich K — January 26, 2008 @ 1:58 pm