We have all heard the phrase “happy wife happy life” right? A new study from Rutgers University may show that that particular phrase is more true than we may realize. They found that the happier the wife is with the relationship, the happier the man is with life itself, even if he is not as ecstatic as she is about the marriage. A professor in the Sociology department at Rutgers says that often times when the wife is happier she will tend to do more things for her husband like cook elaborate meals or buy him gifts here and there. That in turn makes the man happier.
Vicki Freedman from the University of Michigan co-authored the study with Carr. They looked at how happiness in a couple affected the quality of the marriage. They looked at data from a 2009 study that involved 394 couples. The study was about money, disability, and health. They were all older couples (at least one of the partners was over age 60) and had been married for at least 39 years. They were asked questions about their spouse and their marriage. The study wanted to know if they felt that their spouse appreciated them, what they did to get on their nerves, if they argued with them a lot, and whether they understood their feelings or not.
On top of answering these questions they also were asked to keep a diary of the things that they did during the day such as shopping, cleaning, and relaxing. They were to rate their happiness during these different activities through the day. Generally the participants in the study said that they were very happy with their lives and many of the men rated their happiness with their marriage higher than their spouses.
One of the interesting results that they found in the study was that a woman’s happiness levels went down when their spouse was sick, but the man’s did not change. They theorize that this is because when a man is sick in a marriage, his wife is usually the one who takes care of him, but when it is the wife who is sick she leans on her children to take care of her. This makes times of sickness much less stressful for the husband’s and much more stressful for the wife.