Marital bliss? Toss it out the window, and get down to pain and anguish ASAP, experts say. While many studies find that stress can exacerbate a marriage—turning a short-tempered husband into an abusive one, for example—some experts say adversity is the key to marital success. "It’s protective, helping solidify their commitment into an unshakeable us-vs.-the world resolve,” Tiffany Sharples writes in Time.
Even the economic downturn can help, says one marriage researcher who found that strong families in the Great Depression “banded together as a team and really became more cohesive in dealing with the economic crisis.” Misfortune, however, only benefits couples built on mutual support and willingness to sacrifice: “If your partner has a really big opportunity to sacrifice because of some crisis in your life, and they don't, that's pretty bad," says one expert.