A new study finds that husbands’ happiness depends on their wives’ happiness.
The authors did not find a significant association between spouse’s marital appraisals and own well-being. However, the association between husband’s marital quality and life satisfaction is buoyed when his wife also reports a happy marriage, yet flattened when his wife reports low marital quality.
This isn’t the first study to discover a dependency on wife happiness for husband happiness, but not the reverse (i.e., wife happiness dependent on husband happiness).
Two internally derived psychological dynamics are at play here. First, what this study and others like it are picking up is the scarcity mentality that broadly afflicts the class of married men, who in their premarital lives would be known as provider beta males. Scarcity mentality refers to the instinctive and not altogether unjustified male perception that attractive women are hard to get and if you lose a woman you already have it’s a good bet you’ll spend lonely and aggravating years trying to replace her.
Men (non-NAM men at any rate) are wired to think this way because women are, in fact, the reproductively more valuable sex and thus the choosier sex. So when a man gets married, his happiness, as a consequence of his fear of losing his hard-won sexual outlet, ebbs and flows with his wife’s happiness. If wifey is unhappy or sexually distant, hubby’s visceral fear of incel goes into overdrive. His response, usually counterproductive, is to amp up his mate guarding.
Second, a wife’s happiness doesn’t depend on her husband’s happiness because wives, particularly younger wives with more sexual market options, don’t share the same fear of years of incel. Women have their own pressures and hurdles to overcome, (such as convincing a HSMV man to commit), but total sexual abandonment by the opposite sex is not usually one of them (unless she’s fat, ugly or old).
There is also the reality that unhappy husbands can still want and enjoy sex; unhappy wives… eh, not so much. Husbands who want to keep that twat train rolling have an incentive to maintain their wives’ happiness. Wives who want marital sex don’t necessarily need to keep their husbands happy.
What I’ve described is the influence of ancient biology. Today, we can add a third dynamic, one that is externally derived: Divorce theft. An unhappy husband won’t indirectly threaten a wife’s access to her resources or her children, but an unhappy wife can portend a near future of her husband’s bank account and assets slashed in half and time with his kids reduced more than that.
A case could be made that civilization is ascendent when wives try to increase the happiness of their husbands, and civilization is in decline when husbands fret over the happiness of their wives.