When it comes to keeping the peace in your home and the quality of your happiness, do you find that it’s fairly dependent on the mood of the woman in your life? We’ve all heard the old adage, “Happy wife, happy life.” But just how true is this expression? A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that this well-known phrase may actually be substantially accurate.
The study from Rutgers University, conducted by Professors Deborah Carr and Vicki Freedman, analyzed data from the 2009 Disability and Use of Time diary supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to gauge marital happiness in older adults.
Unlike previous studies, which focused more on the correlation between health benefits and a happy marriage, this study deals with spouses’ personal feelings on their marriage and the influence their feelings have on their psychological well-being.
In conducting the study, the team comprised data on 394 couples in which at least one of the spouses was over the age of 60. Carr and Freedman asked the spouses questions including how appreciated they felt and how frequently they argued or felt irritated with their partner. They also kept diaries documenting how happy they were in the previous 24 hours doing everyday tasks like housework and watching TV.
Altogether, the spouses had a high level of satisfaction, with an average of 5 out of 6 points, and the husbands seemed to rate their marriages slightly higher than their wives did. “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,” says Carr, “which has a positive effect on his life.”
Interestingly, the authors of the study found that the wives “became less happy if their spouses became sick, but the husbands’ levels of happiness did not change or show the same outcome if their wives became ill.” According to Carr, this is likely attributed to the fact that wives are the primary caregivers if their husbands are sick, which can be stressful. “But often when a woman gets sick, it is not her husband she relies on but her daughter,” she says.
Overall, Carr and Freedman found that “the association between husband’s marital quality and life satisfaction is uplifted when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality.” In turn, a happy marriage can have a positive effect on the health and well-being of aging spouses.
So, how then does one retain a happy wife? Here are a few tips worth keeping in mind to maintain a healthy, thriving marriage.
Say thank you for the little things.
Be honest, but watch your words. It’s important to be truthful in a marriage, but make sure to stop for a minute and think about what you really mean to say.
Remind your partner that you appreciate them.
Indulge in a spontaneous evening every now and then. Making time for a whirlwind date night will make your lady feel special and will allow you both to enjoy a change of scenery.
Help around the house and don’t be a slob.
Practicing these simple actions could change your your life for the better.