No one sets out to have a bad marriage. When many couples say their vows while gazing into their partner's eyes, they're envisioning a lifetime of wedded bliss, complete with an endless supply of back rubs, emotional support and sex on tap. But as the current UK divorce rate shows – 42% of them end in divorce – marriage isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
Of course, there are usually legitimate reasons why people get divorced and there should be no stigma around it (arguably, the process should also be made easier). If you want to reduce the risk of divorce, you'd be wise to implement some damage limitation. A recent study of heterosexual couples, presented at the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) conference in Colorado, found that marital disagreements take a toll on our mental and physical health. Disagreeing over topics such as children, money, in-laws and leisure activities can be as bad for us as smoking and drinking, which is as good an incentive as any to work on your marriage or long-term relationship.
Refinery29 UK asked six women what they've learned in their first year of marriage about dealing with conflicts and disagreements. Take notes.