After that glorious honeymoon period of the relationship, where the novelty of having a partner in life begins to wear thin, little arguments and niggles start to creep into the relationship.

These little quibbles about washing up, keeping the light on and the thermostat being too low can put a stress on any relationship - but the solution is fortunately an easy one.

Close family and friends can cure bickering stresses, at least according to Researchers at the University of Texas.

A recent study measured the cortisol levels (a hormone connected with stress levels) of more than 100 newlyweds, who were also asked to keep a daily diary of any conflict in their relationship, and to fill in a survey about their connections with family and friends.

They found that it didn’t matter how many friends and family members each participant had, but it was the quality of those relationships that made the difference. Those who reported just having a few close friends or family members had lower levels of stress when conflict arose.

The study, published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, stated:

Spouses who reported being more satisfied with the availability of friends and family, whom they knew they could connect with during times of marital conflict, experienced conflict as less physiologically stressful

Lisa Neff, who led the study, said:

We found that having a satisfying social network buffers spouses from the harmful physiological effects of everyday marital conflicts. Maintaining a few good friends is important to weathering the storms of your marriage.

Even everyday conflict takes a toll on people physiologically. But we found that the association between marital conflict and cortisol responses completely disappears when people are happy and satisfied with their available social network.

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