Many of us think of serious marital fights as a series of screamed insults, accusations, and even physical abuse. Those are the types of fights most likely to lead to divorce, right?

Maybe not. A recent study from the University of Michigan says that, as bad as all-out yell-fests can be for a marriage, it is the passive-aggressive method of fighting – withdrawing from a confrontation without explaining what is wrong – that is most destructive. The study followed 373 couples through the first 16 years of their marriage. Researchers chronicled the couples’ fighting styles, how often they fought in the first year of marriage, and the different ways men and women fought.

According to the study, the combination of fighting styles most likely to cause a divorce is analytical and passive-aggressive. That means that one spouse approaches a problem in the relationship by calmly analyzing it, while the other spouse simply avoids the problem by withdrawing from the argument. While it may delay the problems for a while, the analytical spouse tends to interpret the withdrawal as a lack of interest in the relationship, the study said.

The best combination of fighting styles does not really involve “fighting”: couples who both approached a disagreement ready to work constructively on the problem had the best chance of being married at the end of the study.

Interestingly, whether or not the couples fought in their first year of marriage did not have much effect on their staying together long-term. Of couples where at least one spouse claimed not to have had a fight in their first year, 46 percent were divorced by year 16. Unfortunately, divorce happens. And if it happens to you, make sure to contact your trustworthy divorce lawyers in Kansas for assistance along the way.