“Happiness is only the cart; love is the horse.”
We hardly need scientific research to tell us that a happy marriage makes for a happy life. Recent research by Rutgers University not only confirms that, but also underlined that “the quality of a marriage can affect the health and well-being of older individuals as they continue to age.” The lead researcher, Deborah Carr, explained:
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.
The study also found that “A wife’s happiness is more crucial than her husband’s in keeping the marriage on track.”
Although it’s obviously a massive help if the husband is also happy with the marriage, the wife’s happiness had double the beneficial impact of her husband’s happiness. Why the difference? Carr again:
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. Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital of unhappiness (or happiness) might not be translated to their wives.
Best Predictor of Happiness
As the famous 75-year-long Harvard Grant study of life satisfaction found, the single most important predictor of happiness in old age wasn’t money, success, intelligence, or health, but close relationships. The former were desirable, but love was essential.
“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.” (Psalm 92:13-14)