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Wives play pivotal role in marital peacekeeping

Narrator:       This is Science Today. When it comes to keeping the peace in marriage, it turns out that it's more important for wives than husbands to cool down after a heated argument. Psychologist Robert Levenson of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study, says how fast husbands calmed down after a conflict had little or no bearing on long-term marital satisfaction.

Levenson:       One of the things that we measure is called constructive communication. And if the wife engages in constructive communication — it's not talking about feelings, but it's talking about things that can be done. In this research, wives who go into that problem-solving mode cool down more quickly and their marriages were happier.

Narrator:       Ironically, Levenson points out that wives often criticize husbands for rushing to "solution mode" too quickly.

Levenson:       This is difficult because this finding is sort of saying, well you really have to do that. You don't have to do it [laughter] — you can do what you want, but we know it is one of the things that helps.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.