Long-term marriage conflict and longevity strategies over the life span: a qualitative study
The study is an exploratory, qualitative study investigating the frequency, sources, and resolution strategies of conflict in long-term marriages. In addition, keys to an enduring marriage were explored. Fifteen couples married over 50 years or more were interviewed using an unstructured question format. The life graph was another methodological tool used to help couples recall major life events and give perspective to their married lives. Direct quotations of the respondents illustrated the findings. Couples' perceptions of major life events were similar, yet recalled primarily in relation to their roles within the marriage as either caretaker or provider. Marital conflict throughout the life span was reported as minimal, and most couples avoided conflict rather than actively engaging in it. Respect and commitment were major contributors to marital longevity. Gender differences and period effects greatly affected spouses' perceptions of conflict and marital life.