Study highlights gender differences in marriage

Family|Relationships|October 23rd 2013

Newly published findings from a 27 year study of married couples highlights differences in the way men and women approach marriage.

Research professor and therapist Dr Terri Orbuch has followed the lives of 746 study participants since 1986, when all were newly married couples. It is, she reports, the longest running study to date into the factors which influence the success or failure of marriage.

Since the study began, 46 per cent of the couples have divorced.

Writing on Hitched, Dr Orbuch said: “Some of the most interesting findings from the study pertain to gender differences. Men and women have real differences when it comes to what they want and need in order to stay happy and together in the relationship.”

She says the following are key gender differences:

*Men do not feel the same need to discuss emotions and the dynamics of a relationship as most women. Statements such as “we need to talk” cause “real distress” she claims, and are seen by many men as an indication that the relationship is in trouble and divorce is likely.

*Whereas women often receive positive attention, compliments and validation from friends, family members, colleagues and sometimes even strangers, men rarely do and so look to their wives for this kind of attention. Men who feel they are rarely “fussed over” by the wives are twice as likely to divorce, she claims.

*A close relationship with in-laws affects men and women in very different ways. Men who are close to their in-laws are 20 per cent less likely to divorce, whereas women who have a close relationship with their in-laws are 20 per cent more likely to divorce!

*Women are typically distressed by arguments and want closure and resolution. They therefore, Orbuch claims, often try to revive earlier arguments to continue the discussion. If they don’t feel that rows have been resolved, they are more likely to divorce. Men by contrast rarely feel the need to return to old arguments and are sometimes unable to even remember what an argument was about the following day.

*Religious women are less likely to divorce but this does not the same is not true for religious men.

*Educated women are less likely to divorce, with the odds of divorce decreasing by 23 per cent for every year of higher education.

Dr Orbuch said:

”When we study husbands and wives, we discover that men and women are different when it comes to relationships. This is a small sampling of those differences. When we learn about what makes the other gender tick, particularly in terms of how it affects the marriage, we can find ways to accommodate or be more accepting of our spouse’s differences.”

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  1. JamesB says:

    re *Educated women are less likely to divorce, with the odds of divorce decreasing by 23 per cent for every year of higher education.

    Educated women are less likely to marry. Those that do are more likely to stay together. Statistics can paint different pictures according to what you want to argue. Could argue education for women is bad as it makes women less marriageable or could argue is good as makes their marriages more likely to last. This is the debate by the girl in Pakistan who the Taliban shot. Personally I like my women educated.

  2. Luke says:

    “When we study husbands and wives, we discover that men and women are different when it comes to relationships”

    This is why men and women are not designed to live in life long tiny family unit relationships – living in small communities where relationships can be more fluid if need be and men and women generally spend large parts of their day separated from the other gender is how man evolved.

  3. Stitchedup says:

    No surprises here. In my opinion Men tend to just get on with things whereas Women are always looking for something wrong with the man/relationship and tend to blame the man for anything/everything wrong in their lives. Whilst Men might like to receive a compliment form their wife, in reality they be become accustomed to constant negativity and criticism…. hen pecked syndrome!!

    The in-law thing rings true also, I always tried to make my in-laws feel welcome if they visited whereas my ex would constantly bitch about my family and indeed my friends. In fact, the more I read about domestic abuse the more I realise I was a victim of it for 20 years! I’m a 6ft, broad shouldered, 16 stone ex rugby player; my ex is a petite 5ft 3inch pretty blonde. Who do you think the police/judge is going to believe.

  4. JamesB says:

    I like the comment – we discover that men and women are different – I mean, wow, lol, how much did it cost to work that out. I also found the in laws findings to ring true. I also empathise and sympathise with stitchedup.

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