With bold, newspaper ads topped by the question, “Are you DATING?,” UW-Madison researchers are recruiting study subjects to delve into the daily lives of young couples, and the potential impact of prescription drug use, and misuse, on their happiness.
According to one widely-held view on couple relationships, how you argue is far more important than what you happen to be arguing about. Sex, careers, communication, toothpaste cap? No matter. The key to a good relationship is HOW you approach and discuss these issues, more so than anything special or difficult about the issue itself. There is a lot to recommend this view: couples benefit from following good ground rules for disagreeing, for example, and the emotional tone that couples take when discussing their problems gives us real information about where their relationship is headed.
What is the impact on one partner when the other has mental health issues? How do you deal with a depressed, anxious or addicted mate?
With the economy still sputtering, you and your spouse may have found your money frustrations with each other worsening. In a recent American Express poll, 61% of couples said discussions of household finances were turning to arguments. A year ago it was 45%. Unfortunately, “money conflicts tend to be more negative than other kinds of fights,” says Lauren Papp, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who’s done research on the topic.
Valentine’s Day is a day when we think about our romantic relationships — or lack thereof.
But at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Couples Lab, every day is spent thinking about the importance of relationships. What makes them work? How do couples communicate? In what ways do our parents’ relationships affect us for a lifetime?
When I first met my (now) husband, Andy, he had a close female friend. I’ll call her Donna. Donna and Andy went to the movies together. They went out for dinner. They caught a baseball game with another couple — while I was out of town. I asked to meet Donna many times, but kept getting the runaround for one reason or another. “I think it’s weird that I haven’t met her yet, and I think she’s deciding if she’s in love with you,” I told Andy. He said I was crazy. That they were friends. “I know you might be ‘just friends’ with her,” I replied. “But I don’t think she’s ‘just friends’ with you.” Jealousy boiled up inside me.
Relationships can often be an afterthought or a thought some of us actively try to avoid, but at the University of Wisconsin Couples Lab, relationships are the only thought.
Why does a couple become a couple? Love? Friendship? Security? Someone to talk to? Economics?
We all know that it’s bad for our kids to fight in front of them. Yes, it’s not ideal to scream at our beloved spouses how stupid and ugly they are while our children are listening. The sad truth is that kids who are exposed to negative kinds of marital conflict tend to be more aggressive and have more emotional problems.