5 surprising secrets to a happy marriage

By Elise Sole

loversTurns out the adage, ‘Happy wife, happy life,” may not be true. New research conducted by the University of Chicago finds that a happy and healthy husband is the key to having an awesome marriage. “We studied older, more conventional couples, but results may apply to younger generations since people tend to become more traditional as they age,” lead author, James Iveniuk, a PhD candidate in the department of sociology, tells Yahoo Shine. Chalk it up to cultural norms: “Even in the most modern marriages, there are gender role expectations,” he says. “Women tend to police the emotional temperature of the home, so if a husband is sick or being difficult, women are often the ones to smooth things over, versus men who are more avoidant.” Here are four more factors that make marriages tick.

An average-looking husband: So, you didn’t marry David Beckham — that’s a good thing. Plain-looking men make better husbands, according to the Journal of Family Psychology. Researchers filmed 82 newlywed couples discussing a marital problem, and in those pairs in which the man was the more attractive one, he was less sensitive to his wife’s feelings. Meanwhile, the less handsome husbands were interested in problem-solving. “There are lots of reasons why people stay together, and lots of reasons why people are committed to each other,” study author Benjamin Karney, PhD, a social psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles said in a press release. “So it would be an exaggeration to say, ‘Well, no woman should ever marry a man who is more attractive than she is.’ But it is true that on average, when men are more attractive than their wives — in this sample, at least — it looks like they were less invested. Maybe because they knew that they might have more alternatives — better alternatives, potentially.”

Holding a grudge: It’s counterintuitive, but refusing to forgive your spouse for an offense could be the key to resolving an issue, says one Florida State University study. That’s especially true when dealing with a difficult partner who takes advantage of the other’s kindness. “Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner,” lead study author James McNulty, PhD, a psychology professor said in a press release. No need to drag out the argument for days, but having what McNulty calls an “angry but honest conversation” will make it clear that his behavior won’t fly.

Having married friends: One Brown University study suggests that the divorce of a close friend increases the odds that you’ll end your own marriage by 75 percent. “When one person experiences divorce, it gives the people around them information about what that’s like,” lead study author James Fowler told Good Morning America. A friend’s split could cause you to question your own relationship or hearing the juicy details of the single life could make its benefits seem more appealing. To head off trouble, hang out with happily married friends: One study found that having an audience witness you two on your best behavior validates your lovey-dovey feelings.

 

Read more: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/5-secrets-happy-marriage-181932455.html

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