He who finds a good wife finds a good thing, but beyond the success of making a good choice of a partner, a study has shown that there are other factors that are instrumental to having a lasting union and marital bliss.
According to the study, one of the keys to a long-lasting marriage, successful or harmonious marital union, is for the wife to be happy. According to the study, the more content the wife is with the marriage, the happier the husband would be, which would improve his well being and general health.
The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family on September 2, 2014 found that when it comes to harmonious marital union, the woman’s happiness is more crucial than the husband’s in maintaining marital bliss and in the health of the relationship.
Above and beyond the key role women play in the home, such as raising the children and supporting the husband, their well being, happiness and joy could determine how enjoyable and lasting the marriage would be.
The study, led by a Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology, Rutgers University, United States, Dr. Deborah Carr, advised that men who are unhappy in their marriage should avoid being selfish and focus on their wives’ happiness. The study emphasises that the key to marital bliss is all about women’s feelings, and the happier they are in the marriage, the better.
The researchers studied about 400 couples in which at least one of the partners was over the age of 60 years old and had been married for 39 years on the average.
The couples were given surveys to assess the quality of their marriage. The researchers also assessed the quality of feelings that they held towards one another by asking a series of questions such as, if they felt their spouse genuinely appreciated them, how often they argued and if they felt their spouses respected their opinion or point of view. The participants were also asked to write a diary, which detailed the last 24 hours that they had spent with their spouse, and to assess their own feelings of happiness during shared activities like shopping, chores and watching TV.
Carr and her colleagues found that in general, the couples that were used in the study reported very high levels of life satisfaction, which led the researchers to conclude that long and happy marriages had some link with high levels of life satisfaction. For married men, how highly their wives rate the marriage affects their overall happiness.
There was also a trend seen with the levels of life satisfaction reported from both partners and the happiness of the wife. The couples in which the female partner reported higher levels of overall happiness reported greater life satisfaction on both sides.
Carr explained that when a woman is happy, she tends to naturally want to do more for her husband, which in turn makes him happy too. She explained that for both spouses, being in a better-rated marriage was linked to greater life satisfaction and happiness and that the study is important because the quality of a marriage can affect the health and wellbeing of older people as they continue to age.
The researchers also suggested that when women are unhappy, they tend to be more vocal about their unhappiness than men are. When a woman is unhappy, therefore, her husband may also feel so due to her disposition.
While previous studies have shown that happiness has an important role in a people’s general health and wellbeing, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported that depression was more common in people who remain in stressful marriage situations. In addition, this new study showed that the key to a happy marriage and a happy life might just be to make the wife happy.
“The quality of a marriage is important because it provides a buffer against the health-depleting effects of later life stressors and helps couples manage difficult decisions regarding health and medical decision making, hence, the quality of a marriage can affect the health of older people as they age,” Carr explained.
The researchers said the study is particularly important because health and wellbeing can be impacted by marriage quality and that how happy a woman believes her marriage is has a direct impact on the quality of her husband’s life, regardless of how he feels about their nuptials.
In other words, happily married women are also more likely to boost their husband’s ego by praising him and less likely to give him the kind of tongue-lashing abuses associated with families with marital problems.
According to 100weddingtips.com, the secrets to a happy marriage include effective heart-to-heart communication to understand each other’s needs and happiness, being a good listener, laughter, good humour, honesty, which involves clarity of feelings and intentions, showing love, affection, respect, and equality, which involves sharing house work, etc.
Reacting to the study, a consultant psychologist, Prof. Toba Elegbeleye, said making each other happy in a marriage should be mutual and not one sided. He added that when every other thing is okay, there is the possibility that a little effort would allow for happiness and that it may not be entirely correct for somebody to make initiating and complementing happiness in another person’s lives his sole duty.
He said, “I think it’s mutual in the sense that when one initiates it, the other person complements it, it’s not necessary that one person has to initiate it at all times,” he added.
“There are other things in a marriage that make for happiness beyond the conscious efforts of the husband to initiate happiness, such as, if the woman becomes pregnant and delivers at the right time without any problem, if the social standing of the couple in their mini-society is quite good and they have financial surplus, the happiness is guaranteed. But when most of these ancillary perquisites are not there, how can a poor husband make his wife happy.”
He explained further that men tend to be less vocal if they don’t have happiness in their marriage unlike women who tend to show theirs.
“It could be seen as a sign of weakness and failure for the man if he shares such, not forgetting that he has several social outlets, unlike women for whom it’s quite unusual to go to bars or pubs to make up for a bad marriage, hence, they tend to seek approval and sympathy from other people so as to find an outlet for their emotion.
“So, for men, rather than go to meet other colleagues of theirs to start telling them about the problem in their marriage, they might take solace in drinking, going to social club or womanising,” he said.
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