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Marriage Fights: Study Says It's Better To Argue Than Forgive

08/06/2012 04:52 pm ET | Updated Aug 06, 2012

Forgiving and forgetting is so last season.

A study presented at the American Psychological Association's annual conference on August 2 says that arguing through marital problems can be healthier than forgiving a spouse in some cases.

For couples who don't regularly engage in "hostile behaviors" -- defined by the study as sarcasm, insulting, swearing, etc. -- forgiveness is beneficial to the pair's well-being. But if the couple often fights, it may be more beneficial to metaphorically "duke it out" than forgive and forget.

The study's author, James McNulty, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee, suggests that being forgiven by a spouse -- or being the forgiving spouse -- can lead to some unintentional negative side effects.

"Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner," McNulty told the New York Daily News.

McNulty also indicated that becoming angry with a partner tells them that their behavior is "undesirable" whereas forgiving them right away says their behavior will be tolerated. Temporary anger may prevent the same behavior from occurring in the future.

Click through the slideshow below to learn seven ways to avoid money problems, which are the number one reason for divorce.

Avoiding Money Trouble
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