Happy wife, happy life, right? Um, maybe not. Three doctors in New Zealand designed a unique marriage experiment to test whether or not a couple could become happier if the husband did everything the wife wanted. It lasted 12 days before he was too miserable to continue any longer.
The results of the study to test the theory that it was better to be “right” than “happy” were published in the more lighthearted Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, but they’re worth noting.
One couple was randomly chosen, and the wife was only instructed to record her happiness level from one to 10 on a daily basis. The husband, however, was asked to agree with his wife about everything, and do whatever she said, even if he disagreed with her.
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I guess they were hoping to see that if the wife were “right” about everything, she’d be happier. It didn’t work out like that, though.
After 12 days, the man's quality of life had fallen from a seven to a three. Conversely, the wife's happiness raised from an eight to an eight-and-a-half, but after six days she became hostile toward the researchers recording the data and gave no more information.
"It seems that being right is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness," the researchers wrote in the study.
Also worth noting is that the husband reported that the wife became “increasingly critical of everything he did.”
And we all know that men just love to be criticized, right?
What I want to know is whether or not the woman felt happier after she stopped recording the results. Did she figure out what was going on, notice that her husband was becoming increasingly depressed, and refuse to acknowledge that she was happy getting her way all the time? Or was she confused or sad about the apparent indentured servitude? We may never know…
Would you be happy if your spouse agreed with you all the time about everything?
Image via Edvard March/Corbis