The term “I love you to death” may be literally quite true.
A recent study finds that couples who have fought with their spouse for decades were more likely to develop heart disease than those in happy marriages, Daily Mail reports.
This was especially true for women since, according to Michigan State University Sociologist Dr. Hui Lui’s study, they are more likely to internalize negative feelings than men.
“Marriage counseling is focused largely on younger couples,” Lui told Daily Mail. “But these results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years.”
Lui’s past research has shown that those in unhappy marriages are more likely to be depressed and develop high blood pressure. It can also lead to people taking up unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking, according to Daily Mail.
Those who engaged in heating arguments with their spouse had a history of depression and were more likely to be obese, since stress and depression affect how high-fat foods are processed.
Liu found that women feel that their marriage declines as a result of suffering heart disease wince they are more likely to care for and support sick husbands that the other way around.
“In this way, a wife’s poor health may affect how she assesses her marital quality, but a husband’s poor health doesn’t hurt his view of marriage,” Liu told Daily Mail.