Says Marriages' Chances Of Survival Could Depend On Who Calms Down First

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New research finds marital bliss may depend on who cools down quickest after a heated argument.

So it turns out there could be a lot of truth to the popular saying “happy wife, happy life.”

Married for 13 years, Frank and Lillian Caracansi may not argue often, but said with certainty which of them cools down more quickly.

“We never had an argument when we’re friends; never had an argument now that we’re married,” Frank Caracansi told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock. “Sicilians hold a grudge. I know that so I just stay out of her way, and it’s eventually okay.”

Birgit Maier admitted she and her husband argue, but apologies don’t come as quickly.

“Depends on the day, but usually my husband will let it go before I will,” Maier said.

Those who spoke to Murdock said the same thing — husbands calm down first. However, a study out of University of California-Berkley suggests wives everywhere may want to let it go more quickly.

Researchers analyzed videotaped interactions of more than 80 couples to see how they recovered after an argument.  What they found was while spouses were equally able to cool their jets, marriages in which wives quickly calmed down were ultimately the happiest, in both the short and long run.

“I’d endorse it,” said Ed Atkins, married to wife, Jacquie, for 48 years.

“It sounds like a guy came up with that,” said Chris Holmes, who has been married 34 years.

Couples therapist Irina Firstein said the research makes sense. Women set the emotional compass in a relationship.

“Women are typically the pursuers of intimacy and connection than men,” Firstein said. “Often times, when there is a fight, a woman is more emotionally upset, invested or feeling hurt.”

She said if wives can recover quickly the relationship can move forward. So for all you hubbies out there, it’s best to help your wife get over it more quickly.

“The best thing that a man can do to make it happen faster is to understand that when a woman is angry that she’s really hurt or scared,” Firstein said.

And offer her comfort and empathy to help calm her quickly, and, perhaps, ensure marital bliss.

Age may also play a role in how couples interact.  The study focused on middle aged and older couples that grew up in a world where men and women were treated differently. For younger couples, gender dynamics may differ, Murdock reported.

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