Heck, my husband even defers to the philosophy each and every night when we have the endless and ever-important debate of what to have for dinner. (A wife who’s always pregnant = dinner plans change at the last minute, OK?)
But now, for the first time, a new study out of Michigan has confirmed what we have all laughed over for all of these years.
The study, “Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-being in Later Life,” published in the Journal of Marriage and Family earlier this month, took a look at how emotional well-being contributed to happiness in marriages over the long haul.
And the surprising find?
“The more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials,” states Rutgers. In other literal words, happy wife = happy life. For men at least.
The study looked at almost 400 long-time married couples, who had been married, on average, 39 years. They found that on average, the women who reported higher levels of satisfaction with their lives in general and in their marriage also had husbands who were happier.
Unfortunately, the study also hinted that a wife may get less emotional support from her husband. For instance, wives whose husbands became sick reported lower levels of happiness during their spouses’ illnesses, while husbands whose wives became ill reported no change in their own emotional well-being. (Thanks a lot, hubby!)
So what’s the reasoning behind the happiness?
“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,” says Deborah Carr, a professor in the Department of Sociology, about the study.
Which, honestly, I think is a bunch of crap. It’s a two-way street, folks: spouses who both sacrifice and support each other is the key, not a wife who exists to “make her man happy.” (And thinking like that is also dangerously close to the stereotype that a woman can somehow provoke a man enough to hit her).
So-called advice that promotes the idea that a spouse can make another spouse’s life happy and complete almost ruined my marriage — and I have no intention on going back there.
All in all, I think this study is focused too much on how a woman can make her husband happy and not enough on how spouses can make each other happy. It’s not our men’s job to make us happy and it’s not our job to make our men happy — they need to do that for themselves.
But we can support each other along the way.
Image via j&j brusie photography