annoyed couples last longerYour spouse. Lifelong mates are the most annoying people in life, according to research.

But don’t despair. If your spouse annoys you, that could be a good sign for your relationship, according to researchers.

Only on Earth. Only among humans, right? Mutual annoyance in marriage = a good thing. Can it be true?

It does make sense that if you spend a lot of time with someone, they have more potential to bug you. We spend more time in the same space with our spouses than anyone else, typically, so annoy-me buttons tend to get pushed a lot.

But that it’s a good thing? That will take some convincing.

Being Annoyed in Marriage is a Good Thing: The Research

University of Michigan researcher suggest the following:

Spouses tend to be viewed most negatively compared to children, extended family, and friends.

• Negative views of children tend to evolve into more neutral views, but for spouses, the negativity increases over time.

• Researchers suggest this increasing negativity, annoyance or “getting on each other’s nerves” is a valid sign of a close relationship. The logic goes like this: You’re annoyed because you’re close to your spouse and more comfortable expressing your feelings.

I’m not endorsing or refuting this view – just relaying information. The study was reported on by NBC News.

What to Make of It

Seems as though the interpretation of data is an attempt to normalize negativity in marriage. It means you are close and being close means being annoyed regularly. Couples who think there is something abnormal about their ongoing annoyance may find some relief in this view.

Idealists among us may be offended, though. What about the hope of ever-increasing fulfillment and appreciation in marriage? Is that even possible? Does the data suggest we should all give up the hope of peace in our homes? Not necessarily. I know of a few marriages that have gotten better over time, my own included. Less annoyance. More peace, connection, intimacy, and fulfillment.

It would be interesting to study couples who report steady improvements in positivity over time and find out what they’re doing differently.

You might be interested in: Dating, Relating and Mating: How to Get it Right