“Happy wife, happy life”, we have heard this saying over and over again. And at times, it seemed that it was just a saying to encourage husbands to treat their wives better.
But now, a study actually proves this saying. A study from Rutgers University in New Jersey revealed that a husband’s quality of overall life is improved if his wife is happy — whether or not this husband views his marriage as a happy one.
Prof. Deborah Carr, from Rutgers, and Prof. Vicki Freedman, from the University of Michigan, collaborated to evaluate the quality of married life in older adults.
The study involved 394 married couples, wherein one of the parties is over 60 years of age. The participants were asked questions related to their quality of marriage as well as life satisfaction.
Professor Carr and Professor Freeman concluded that: “[There was not] a significant association between spouse’s marital appraisals and own well-being. However, the association between husband’s marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality.”
Professor Carr explained why the happiness of the husband’s overall life is significantly affected by his wife’s happiness in the marriage, elaborating that if the wife is happy, she does things that would improve her husband’s life, such as cooking for him, doing house chores, providing emotional support to the husband, listening to what her husband has to say, and engaging in sexual relations.
The same study also found out that the happiness of the wives are are generally not impacted by their husband’s unhappiness. Professor Carr also explained that this maybe because the wife isn’t aware of her husband’s unhappiness, not because she doesn’t care at all.
Men are not as confrontational as women when it comes to dealing with marriage problems. Woman are also more expressive when it comes to her emotions that she would let her husband know if she’s unhappy. On the other hand, while women are more of the “we need to talk” type, men would typically simply let the bitterness stew.
Additionally, the study discovered that the women’s happiness were affected when their husbands become sick, whereas men’s happiness weren’t really affected when their wives get sick.
This is possibly because the wife tend to deal with the caregiving tasks when their husband become sick, while frequently, when the wife gets sick, the husband to turn to others for the responsibility of caregiving, such as daughters or friends, according to Professor Carr.
At the end of the day, the best fix for an unhappy marriage is open communication, said Professor Carr. She suggested that married couples take time to talk about the good and bad things in their marriage from time to time.
Aside for having proving that having a happer marriage from the wife’s perspective potentially resulting in a better quality of life, Professor Carr said that the study is important because the quality of married life affects the health of people as they grow older. The professor also said that the good quality of marriage “provides a buffer against the health-depleting effects of later life stressors and helps couples manage difficult decisions regarding health and medical decision making”, as per Medical News Today.