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Happy Wives Equal Happier Husbands

Update Date: Sep 12, 2014 04:50 PM EDT

Happy wives are more important than happy husbands when it comes to keeping a marriage intact, according to a new study.

Researchers at Rutgers University found that the more satisfied the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life. This held true even after accounting for the husband's feelings about the marriage.

"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," researcher Deborah Carr, a professor in the Department of Sociology, School of Arts and Science, said in a news release.

"Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives," Carr added.

The latest study involved 394 couples who participated in a national study of income, health and disability in 2009. Researchers noted that all couples were married for an average of 39 years and at least one of the spouses was 60 or older.

Participants had to answer questions about their feelings about their spouse, and were asked to document how happy they were in the previous 24 hours doing activities such as shopping, housework and watching television.

The findings revealed that husbands generally rated their marriage slightly more positive than their wives. Researcher noted that the life satisfaction was five out of six points for most couples.

"For both spouses being in a better-rated marriage was linked to greater life satisfaction and happiness," Carr said.

"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," Carr concluded.

The findings are published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

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