Health

Fighting in a Relationship: Is It Better to Be Right or Happy?

Dec. 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM ET

how to win an argument
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couple fight

Fine, you may be right – but are you really happy in all of your rightness? Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand evaluated the effect “being right” and “being happy” had on a couple’s quality of life.

The study observed a couple in their own home. The couple had to grade their quality of life at different points of the study. The husband had to agree with everything the wife said, even if he truly thought she was wrong. The husband knew the point of the study, the wife did not (she just had to record her quality of life).

Everything went downhill pretty quickly for the couple once the experiment started. On a scale of 1 to 10 – ten being the happiest, one being the least happy – the man and woman’s quality-of-life scores varied drastically. Over the course of the study, the husband’s score dropped from a 7 to a 3, while the wife’s barely rose from an 8 to an 8.5.

On day twelve, they had to call the entire study off because of the toll it was having on the husband’s mental health. Completely agreeing with everything his wife said had made her overly critical and led him to break down and tell her about the study.

Point being: conceding to an argument for the sake of peace is not an answer for long-term happiness.

It’s just about balance. You’re not going to be right all the time, and neither is your significant other. And if you can accept that, it will result in ultimate happiness.

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