In the spirit of LOVE that is such a prevalent topic during the month of February, I came across this article by Maggie Gallagher in Townhall.com, “The Happiest Wives in America.”
The title caught my attention because being a wife of 30 years, I was curious to see what this author found to be the source of happy wives. After all, without a happy wife, there would be no happy husband and therefore no happy couple. In the article, according to a recent report by the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project, women who attend church at least weekly with their husband and who have four or more children, are among the happiest wives in America.
It was determined that if you and your spouse are both committed to a religious belief that includes weekly worship together, this commitment carries through in your relationship as a couple as well. Being devoted to a cause outside of oneself, such as religious observance, will most likely mean the husband will be devoted to his marriage, his children, and to other selfless causes. When challenges occur in marriage, the commitment to overcome the challenge and get back on track is greater. Certainly, wives are most happy when they are recipients of their husband’s loyalty.
Regarding children, the study actually found that couples with no children and those with four or more children, are the happiest. While it is a known fact that having and rearing children is a major source of marital stress and strife, it is also the source of greatest marital joy and an attribute to longer and more fulfilling lives.
So, where do I stack up with these findings? My husband and I do attend church together weekly and share the same religious beliefs. In fact, this practice was a major factor in our getting married in the first place. We have experienced many highs and lows during our 30 years and in one instance, there was a major setback that with other couples, was the source of their broken marriage. However, it was this thread of religious commitment to a higher source, that got us through and allowed us to return to a happier frame of being.
We have three children so I guess I missed out on the finding’s second “happiest factor.” Now that they are all grown and gone, I have often thought that having more children (at least one more) wouldn’t have been all that bad of an idea. Oh well. Can’t do anything about that now. Certainly, raising our three children has brought tremendous happiness — and growth — that I wouldn’t have traded for anything.
I enjoyed the perspectives that Maggie shared in her article. I especially appreciated finding out about The Marriage Project which is “a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and interdisciplinary initiative located at the University of Virginia. The Project’s mission is to provide research and analysis on the health of marriage in America, to analyze the social and cultural forces shaping contemporary marriage, and to identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability.” There are many interesting findings and helpful resources on the web site and I encourage you to check it out. After all, anything that actively supports marriage and families in this day and age, is a winner in my opinion.
What makes you a happy wife?