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Oct 08

Happy Wife, Happy Life - He Was Right!

Posted by Scott  filed under Relationships

Comedian Jeff Allen famously joked, “Happy wife, happy life” which immediately crystalized memories of my dad doing things I never saw my friends’ dads doing in a different context, like laundry and dishes. 

It also made my wife nearly tear up because she was laughing so hard, she had to catch her breath, and her head went up and down in agreement the first time she heard the comedy bit.  Clearly, he was on to something.

Real science and research indicate the influencing correlation can occur in long-term romantic partnerships.  Among middle-aged and older adults, better health is linked with having a happy spouse.  

Most everyone has experienced their mind-body connection if they have experienced a physical manifestation from a psychological state (think of a time when you were nervous to the point of having ‘butterflies’).  It happens and we generally accept it, cope (deep breaths, etc.), and move on.  When stress builds to the point of a headache, maybe a headache pill and / or a nap in a dark room gets us through. 

Sci-Fi writers could get creative with the premise:  one person’s state of mind affecting someone else’s physical experience.  Call Netflix: we have a pitch…

The causal relationship has not been clearly identified but is believed associated with several possible explanations.  Reviewing additional studies led to a conclusion that having a happy partner not only enhances one’s health but also inspires them to be happy, too. 

Since we know a content or happy person is more likely to engage in good habits, exercise, and be emotionally supportive as part of their normal daily life, the person they are closest with is more likely to reciprocate these behaviors. 

Having a happier spouse that makes healthy choices likely inspires the partner to avoid health-harming behavior (smoking, heavy drinking).   Supporting your partner’s happiness and good decision making, and promoting your own, might help you both live healthfully ever after as well as happily ever after.


Chopik, W. J., & O'Brien, E. (2017). Happy you, healthy me? Having a happy partner is independently associated with better health in oneself. Health Psychology, 36(1), 21–30. Retrieved through