It turns out that the saying, “Happy wife, happy life” isn’t just a fun piece of wordplay and rhyming after all. Actually, there is some science behind that saying. Yes, a lot of spouses have made jokes about making sure that the wife is always happy in their marriage. But there are actually a few studies out there that legitimize this theory. Research has now revealed that a wife’s overall happiness might actually be more important than the husband’s when it comes to ensuring the longevity of a marriage.
What is it about making a wife happy?
A recent study that was carried out by Rutgers University has uncovered that a wife’s overall happiness might be more vital than that of her husband’s in relation to making sure that the marriage stays strong and healthy. The study recruited the participation of older couples who were married for an average of around 39 years. And the surveys concluded that the happier that the wife was with the state of the relationship, then the happier the husband was with the state of his life regardless of how he might feel about the relationship in itself.
There has yet to surface any evidence to support the converse idea, as explained by Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Rutgers. She says that the theory behind this uniquely imbalanced dynamic is true within a lot of marriages. “I think it comes down to the fact that when a wife is satisfied with the marriage she tends to do a lot more for her husband, which has a positive effect on his life. Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.”
As a result of men being less vocal and open in their relationships, Carr says that wives may not always be able to sniff out any dissatisfaction or discontentment that their men might be having within the bounds of their relationship.
The study actually allowed men to step outside of what they typically know in their relationship environments by encouraging them to actually confront and communicate their feelings through journaling and reflection assignments. There were questions surrounding whether husbands or wives would appreciate one another, if they argued with each other, or if they found the other irritating at times. These questions were designed to determine the quality of the marriage that these two people had.
The 394 couples who were involved in the study were made to keep very detailed diaries that documented their thoughts and musing surrounding the things that made them happy on a daily basis.
The Findings of the Study
Carr and her team of experts actually found results that were quite surprising; even more so than the actual theory itself. The results that they came to actually claimed that participants had a generally higher overall level of life satisfaction than the average when husbands rated their own personal satisfaction as higher than their wives’.
The study also revealed that wives had dramatic drops in happiness whenever their spouses had gotten sick. And at the same time, the husband’s happiness was unlikely to change when their wives ended up getting sick.
This study enables us to further delve into how a healthy marriage can actually affect an individual’s physical and mental health. There are a lot of previous studies that have already explored the idea of toxic relationships contributing to deteriorating health levels of people who are in them. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior has already studied the link between having toxic marriages and cardiovascular diseases or mental illnesses.
Based on this study, Carr was also shocked to find out that women in these long-term relationships rated their own happiness as lower than their spouses. Carr also pointed out that the findings of this study consistently show that a happier wife seems to help out their husband a lot more. And by extension, the husband experienced an increased level of happiness and satisfaction in their own personal lives. “For both spouses being in a better-rated marriage was linked to greater life satisfaction and happiness,” Carr says.
To conclude, women who happen to experience a high level of satisfaction from their marriages are more likely to actually be happier and healthier than their husbands. This study has also shown that the communication of one’s feelings can lead to a better balance of happiness on both sides of the relationship. That’s why more women should be encouraging their men to be more vulnerable and open up about their feelings more frequently.
What do you think about this study? Do you think that it would apply to your own relationship as well?