It is the wife's happiness that holds the key to a happy marriage for their husbands, claims a new study.
According to the new research by Rutgers University finds that 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.
Deborah Carr, co-author of the research, said 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. Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.
Researchers analyzed data of 394 couples who were part of a national study of income, health and disability in 2009. At least one of the spouses was 60 or older and on average, couples were married for 39 years.
The participants were asked several questions, such as whether their spouse appreciated them, argued with them, understood their feelings or got on their nerves. They were also asked to keep detailed diaries about how happy they were in the previous 24 hours doing selected activities like shopping, doing household chores and watching television.
On an average, the participants rated their general life satisfaction high, typically five out of six points, with husbands rating their marriage slightly more positive than their wives.
The study also found that while wives became less happy if their spouses became ill, the husbands' happiness level didn't change or reflect the same outcome if their wives got sick.
The researchers said that the study was important because the quality of a marriage could affect the health and well-being of older individuals as they continued to age.
The study is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.