By Gerri Elder
Although you may love your children, friends and pets unconditionally over time, a new study reported by LiveScience.com has found that the longer married couples stay together, the more they get on each other's nerves. The research indicates that spouses see each other as not only more irritating as time goes by, but also more demanding.
The good news is that perhaps not all marriages are headed for divorce the longer the couples stay together. It is often said that people say and do offensive things to the people closest to them that they would not dream of saying or doing to a stranger or casual acquaintance. With the close daily contact spouses have in a marriage, there is a certain comfort zone that allows us, as human beings, to expose our most irritating qualities. Some may view this as simply a normal progression of the marriage and not a reason to split up and file for divorce.
The study found that the overall pattern in marriages was that spouses across the board are more annoyed by each other the longer they are together, and this suggests that it truly is the normal path of a relationship.
The research into the nerve-jangling effects of marriage was conducted at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research by lead study author Kira Birditt and colleagues Lisa Jackey and Toni Antonucci.
The researchers looked at the changes in views over time that people in all age groups reported about their spouses, friends and children. Responses gathered in 1992 and 2005 of more than 800 individuals showed that all of the people surveyed felt that their spouse was the most annoying person as compared to their children or friends and that those feelings increased over time.
The study was surprising because it had been believed that as people get older they become better at controlling their emotions and fare better in relationships. As it turns out, the relationships that are improved with age are those with children and friends, but not with spouses.
According to the study, it looks like married people in their 20s and 30s may be most likely to divorce because they have the most negativity in their relationships overall and may divorce rather than adapting to a spouse's annoying behavior.
The longer a couple stays together, the more they irritate each other, but that may not mean they will divorce because over time people may develop coping mechanisms to deal with their spouse's annoying behaviors.
Perhaps the longer you live with a spouse and the more you get accustomed to their less than desirable traits, the more you can't, or don't want to, live without them? That is what the research seems to suggest, in my opinion.