Humans are social animals, and studies have shown that marriage generally has a positive effect on people. Marriage may not always produce that positive effect if the couple’s relationship begins to sour. Few people divorce on the spur of the moment, and when clients come to us, problems and difficulties have often been simmering for long periods of time, often with some crisis driving a husband or wife to a divorce attorney.

The tension and stress of a marriage gone wrong is rarely an attractive sight. While we may have suspected that this type of stress is unhealthy, new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found a connection between this stress and a potential symptom of depression.

The study tracked couples for 11 years, and it assessed their mental state by asking questions related to marital stress, such as disappointment or tension related to their spouse. After nine years, they were again assessed and then, two years later they were given lab tests to measure their emotional relations.

Spouses who were under stress from the marriage on a continual basis were less likely to respond to positive stimuli. This can be a symptom of depression, according to the study authors and they noted that it is an “extraordinarily important” consequence of stress in a marriage.

Relationships are important for all individuals, and when such a significant relationship as marriage has become a source of chronic stress, it may cause more harm to the individuals than the secondary effects of a divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Stressful Marriages Linked To Depression In New Study,” Taryn Hillin, April 28, 2014