Happy wife, happy life! We’ve all heard the cliché and like most clichés, it stays in use for a reason. Turns out, there is truth behind those trite words.
In addition to common sense, (I mean whose home life wouldn’t be better if our partner was happy all the time?) science is proving in recent years that having a happy spouse is not only good for your happiness, it’s also good for your long-term health.
A 2014 study out of Rutgers University on marital quality and happiness among older adults found that the happier a wife is in a long-term marriage, the better off her husband’s life satisfaction was, even if he wasn’t that thrilled about the actual union. “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 researcher Deborah Carr.
Having a happy partner enhances health as much as striving to be happy oneself.
A happy marriage in our twilight years can provide a buffer against the health-depleting effects of later life stressors and help couples manage difficult decisions regarding health and medical issues. Previous studies have also suggested other health benefits; one in particular suggested a happy marriage or partnership could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A 2016 study went even further, revealing that simply having a happy partner enhanced health as much as striving to be happy oneself, according to author William Chopik. He cites three reasons why a happy partner might make you healthier (even if you aren’t happy camper yourself): they provide more support, they get you involved in healthy activities like exercising and eating well, and they are just easier to deal with, so you are less stressed.
And what if you aren’t living with a ‘happy’ person, you ask? Aside from finding a new partner, there are things you can do to gain the same health benefits. Invest some time in improving the relationship so that you both feel happier about it. And, even more importantly, invest in your own happiness and wellbeing.
There are many ways we can improve upon our personal wellbeing: cultivating positive emotion through practices like mindfulness, gratitude, employing compassion and empathy for others, as well as engaging in our passions, investing in our relationships, and ensuring we are living our values and exploring what gives us a sense of meaning, purpose and accomplishment in our lives.
Doing so will not only make you a happier and healthier person as you age, it will also impact your partner’s life for the better. How will you invest in a happier and healthier life in your later years?