iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers are backing up the old adage, “Happy wife, happy life,” with a new study that says a wife’s happiness is more crucial than the husband’s in maintaining a lasting marriage.
The more content the wife is, the happier the husband will be with his life, no matter his feelings on the union, according to researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
“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,” said Deborah Carr, a professor at Rutgers’ Department of Sociology, School of Arts and Science.
“Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.”
The study analyzed the feelings of both spouses to determine a marriages’ influence on adults’ psychological well-being, asking questions on whether partners appreciates each other, gets on one another’s nerves, or understand each other.
Researchers examined nearly 400 couples who participated in a national study of income, health, and disability in 2009. On average, couples were married for 39 years.
While husbands rated their marriage slightly more positive than their wives, both usually said their general life satisfaction was high. Still, researchers found that wives became less happy if their spouses were sick, while husbands’ happiness levels did not change if the roles were reversed.
The study’s lead authors said results showed the impact marriage quality bears on health and well-being as couples age.
“The quality of a marriage is important because it provides a buffer against the health-depleting effects of later life stressors and helps couples manage difficult decisions regarding health and medical decision making,” Carr added.
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