Researchers conclude it is better to be right than happy in marriage

Couple signIt is more important for a good quality of life to be right than happy in a marriage, researchers have concluded.

In an unusual experiment recently published in the British Medical Journal, researchers decided to examine which quality was more important by studying the dynamics of a specific couple’s relationship.

The researchers, doctors from New Zealand, note:

“It was decided without consultation that the female participant would prefer to be right and the male, being somewhat passive, would prefer to be happy.”

The woman was asked to record her quality of life using a scale from one to ten, while the man was secretly told to agree with everything his wife said, while also recording his quality of life.

But the experiment ran into problems after just 12 days.

The researchers explain:

“The data safety monitoring committee stopped the study because of severe adverse outcomes after 12 days. By then the male participant found the female participant to be increasingly critical of everything he did. The situation had become intolerable by day 12. He sat on the end of their bed, made her a cup of tea, and said as much; explained the trial and then contacted the Data Safety Monitoring committee who terminated the trial immediately.”

Over the 12 days, the man’s rated quality of life fell from seven out of ten to just three out of ten, while his wife’s rose from eight to 8.5 over the first six days.

The researchers conclude:

“We should treat the results cautiously because we cannot discount causes other than treatment reducing the male participant’s score. It seems that being right, however, is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness.”

Photo by Keoni Cabral via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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1 comment

JamesB - December 22, 2013 at 2:07pm

I don’t see how this makes sense in any practicable way, as everyone knows that women are always right anyway.

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