A friend of mine used to always say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
She would typically make this proclamation after she’d finish telling me about the spa weekend she’d booked for a getaway with her sister. She’d reiterate her theory after she’d describe the latest fabulous date night she and her husband shared.
She certainly seemed happy and so did her husbad. Apparently, she was on to something. According to a Rutgers University study published in the October issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, a man married to a happy wife tended to have greater overall satisfaction with his life regardless of his own feelings about the marriage.
And just why is that? As Rutgers University sociologist Deborah Carr explains, an unhappy woman is going to let you know about it.
“They tend to register their discontent,” she notes, “while a man might be more able to brush off the ups and downs.”
The study looked at close to 400 couples who’d been married an average of 39 years. Each spouse was asked if their partner appreciates them, understands their feelings, fights with them, or gets on their nerves. Over a 24-hour period, the couples logged their reactions while engaging in routine activities. Overall, the couples were generally very satisfied, placing themselves at a five, with six being the happiest. But the men with happier wives tended to be happier themselves even if they didn’t score the union as highly.
“Maybe he’s not thrilled with the marriage, but if the woman’s happily married, she may give him more love, more support, more encouragement, cook his meals, and help with his medications,” Carr explains.
I suppose this makes sense. If you’re happy with your spouse, chances are you’re going to try harder to make sure they’re happy as well. Conversely, if you’re dissatisfied and at a point of giving up, you may feel like, “Why bother?”
I had a friend who felt that her husband no longer appreciated any of her efforts, so she stopped doing a lot of the things she thought were going unnoticed anyway: making nice dinners, planning weekend outings. Though they stayed together, they were both miserable. Based on this study, maybe if she’d been more vocal about her discontent, it would’ve helped them both.
It seems a wife’s happiness has a bit of a domino effect. Make sure she’s taken care of and the rest will take care of itself.
Do you agree with the old adage “Happy Wife, Happy Life”?