“Happy Wife, Happy Life” isn’t just a popular phrase found on Mother’s Day gifts – it’s been proven to be true in numerous studies. For example, one Berkeley study found that the wife’s ability to calm down quickly following arguments was a strong predictor of marital satisfaction. However, a new study by the University of Chicago may disrupt the pecking order of happiness. The study, focusing on older couples who have been together for decades, found that good health and agreeability in happy husbands is the key determining factor in the happiness of the marriage.
Who makes the marriage harmonious? Happy wives or happy husbands?
Considering other studies indicate that the burden of ensuring marital happiness is entirely on the wife’s shoulders, this is welcome news. It’s a lot of pressure to be solely responsible for two people’s emotional well-being! Women, you’re officially off the hook – it looks like both partners are responsible for each other’s happiness, which in my opinion, is how it should be.
The University of Chicago study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, says that conflict tends to arise more often if the husband is in poor health (but found no correlation between the wife’s health and increased conflict), and that happy husbands who showed higher levels of positivity also reported less conflict. The positivity of the wives, however, was not associated with a rise or decrease in conflict. Positive, healthy happy husbands enjoy harmonious married life – but, I do wonder if the opposite is also true. Perhaps a harmonious married life creates positive, healthy happy husbands!
Researchers have ideas for future studies to determine what combination of traits makes for a low-conflict marriage. Front runners include having a balance of emotional responsibilities between spouses, and fewer “frustration factors” like negative attitudes and poor health. Either way, encouraging positivity in your marriage is sure to improve your quality of life.
If you’d like to eliminate a few “frustration factors,” take the Driver’s Test with your partner today to gain insight into your deepest motivations.