BERKELEY, CA (CBS) – The old saying, “Happy wife, happy life,” may hold more water than you think.
New research out of UC Berkeley and Northwestern shows that it’s more important for wives than husbands to calm down and keep the peace following an argument.
The study, which was published in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Emotion, reveals that a husband’s “emotional regulation” has little or no influence on marital satisfaction. But when it comes to staying happy in marriage, “wives really matter,” says psychologist Lian Bloch, lead author of the study, on the UC Berkeley website.
The researchers reportedly analyzed the interactions of more than 80 middle-aged and older heterosexual couples. Wives that were able to calm down the quickest following a disagreement were found to be the happiest, in both the short and long run.
Furthermore, those couples with wives that self-regulated their emotions and used “constructive communication” and problem solving following an argument reported the highest levels of marital satisfaction.
“Ironically, this may not work so well for husbands, who wives often criticize for leaping into problem-solving mode too quickly,” says UC Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson, senior author of the study.
Since the study focused on middle-aged and older couples who “grew up in a world that treated men and women very differently,” researchers say they’re interested in seeing how the theory plays out with younger couples.
To read more on the study, click here.