Women, men and couple stress: Rutgers relationship study hits home

Women, men and couple stress: Rutgers relationship study hits home
Taking care of each other can help your love last

Does an unhappy wife mean an unhappy life?

No one ever said relationships would be easy. But then again, both the sweetest and the hardest things in live require you to go through a little bit of work before you can enjoy it or learn from it.

I share this logical insight for two reasons:

  1. It’s at the heart of a new Rutgers study that AskMen.com covered, and 
  2. It’s this study that’s unbelievably timely and I’m using as good insight to wrap my mind about my own feelings about my own relationship status

One thought at a time. Let’s start with breaking down bit of research.

AskMen.com just posted about a study published by Rutgers University out of New Jersey and learned something: after talking to a series to hundreds of couples (who have been together for an average of 39 years) men and women process strife differently.

OK, hold the instinctive reaction here (if you’re like me you probably thought… Well, duh.) On the outset this seems apparent, right? But there’s a bit more to it… And it’s pretty universal regardless of how long the couples had been together:

  • Men don’t want to spend much time expressing vulnerability, while women are much more comfortable expressing this
  • Wives tend to take responsibility for the emotion they are feeling and thus need communication and support from their husbands
  • Husbands felt frustrated giving and receiving support in the relationship (isn’t this the point of “Death do us part”? )

Although this study examined older couples, there’s a strong argument that would regard these insights as universal ones about couples in general, especially those who have been in long-term relationships. And I found myself reeling for how close this hit home. While not defining of all the reasons, I would say that some of these held true for me. And, with the very recent separation from Sav, I now find myself eager to process, learn and grow, because that’s how you move forward.

After all, it was the launch of this relationship over 4 years ago that was the catalyst for me taking a very long break from filling this space with words and ideas. Instead I made the active choice to enjoy this part of my life on my own. It’s in turn brought me pain and joy… But also made me wiser, too.

So while this study shares the logical stuff, it was also a timely way to start processing again in a way that feels natural to me. Granted, it’s sharing logical stuff, but insightful, nonetheless.

What does this mean? Here are  few key truths from the study, with a dash of experience thrown in to round this out:

  • The couples that last may not be perfect all the time, but they want to be supported, not stifled. If this doesn’t work, this can be a huge issue in a relationship… Something I feel especially close to as I look back on Sav and myself.
  • It’s a two way street. Contributions, emotions, all of it. That’s what makes it a life long partnership.  If you meet in the middle, that’s everything.
  • You gotta work at it. It’s that simple. And you have to want to. When it gets too hard to fight and it’s a challenge, it just won’t ever work. Sav and I fought often. And without meeting in the middle and that emotional support, at some point, you do hit a wall that eventually gets to be too hard to climb over.

That all said, live, love and be merry. And if you want it to last. make sure you wanna work at it. That’ll always be step one.

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