Study Finds Couples Are Happiest When Both Spouses Work
Could it be that when both husbands and wives have a purpose outside the home, they're more comfortable together inside the home? Or maybe the age-old adage that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true. For better or worse, researchers from both the University of California-Los Angeles and Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that the happiest marriages involve husbands and wives who are both stimulated by challenging jobs.
Maybe it's just a mindset. The researchers also found that the more you like your job, the more you like your marriage. But it could be a chicken-and-egg-type thing: Does being happier at work make you happier at home, or does being happier at home make you happier at work?
This may be true of working couples with no children, but what of those with kids? You'd think both parents working might put a crimp in relationship happiness, since there's so much to do and such little time to do it in. Isn't that what we've been told all our lives? The study disproves this. True, increases in husbands' workloads corresponded with declines in marital satisfaction for both spouses. But what came as a complete surprise is that "increases in wives' workload corresponded with increased marital satisfaction," at least among the wives.
An article posted on Human Resource Executive Online speculated that that affirmation outside the home, along with the pride that comes with contributing to the support of the family, could account for the increased happiness of the working mother. The article also suggested that husbands are more likely to pitch in with the dreaded housework, as well as child-rearing, when their wives are working, and this endears them to each other.
Perhaps it's just that two incomes reduce financial stress on a marriage, and financial disputes are among the leading points of contention among married couples. The study didn't explain the why's, just the what's. Your speculation is as good as anyone else's -- what's your experience? Please let us know below.
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.