Does happy wife mean happy marriage?
While much research shows that a happy marriage has many health benefits, a new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that the happier the wife is in a heterosexual marriage, the better rated the marriage was by both wife and husband.
The research team at Rutgers University asked 394 couples, aged around 60, who were married for 39 years to complete questions about their relationships. They were asked questions about appreciation and understanding from their spouse as well as whether they had irritable feelings towards them. Both the husband and wife were also asked to keep diaries about how happy they were the day before doing their routine daily activities.
According to the study's authors, "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."
Generally, the participants had a high level of satisfaction, a 5 out of 6 points, with the husbands rating their marriages slightly more positively than the wives. The study also found that while wives were less happy when husbands became ill, the husbands’ level of happiness did not change when their wives got sick, most likely due to the fact that while wives are caretakers for their spouses, daughters end up being caretakers for their mothers.