Happy Wife, Happy Life

September 18, 2014


In a study of 394 older couples, researchers from two universities proved your dad right: The old adage that states “a happy wife is a happy life” is true. When the wives in the study reported higher satisfaction with their marriages, their husbands reported feeling happier overall.

The saying “a happy wife is a happy life” has been around for what seems like forever. Before, everyone assumed it was a playful saying, a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge acknowledgement that even if you’re the man of the house, a scorned woman can ruin your day.

Now, according to researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Michigan, it’s anything but tongue-in-cheek: It’s the truth.

“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,” said Professor Deborah Carr at Rutgers University.

“Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.”

No arguments there. Anyone who’s ever been married (or even in a serious, monogamous relationship) knows that when the lady’s unhappy, no one is happy. Whereas men might be more inclined to bottle up their frustrations or blow off steam at the corner bar, if the wife is unsatisfied with the state of things there’s a good chance she’s going to let you know.

Overall, everyone was pretty happy — most people rated their overall happiness a five out of six. The biggest trend to emerge was that when the wife is more satisfied with the marriage, the husband’s overall happiness rating increases.

Men, as it turns out, were ever-so-slightly more satisfied with their end of the marriage.

It’s not surprising. It sounds cynical, but most of us spend nearly as much time actively avoiding pissing off our wives as we do trying to impress them.

Make her happy, and she’ll go to bat for you. Slack off in the husband department, and see how miserable your life becomes.