Every time I hear the utterance of the phrase, ‘happy wife, happy life’, I sigh a little bit at the poor schmuck saying it. Last night I was watching a cooking show, (so shoot me; I like cooking), and this brow-beaten beta male with a genuine harpy for a wife rolled it out no less than three times. So let’s have a look at what’s going on with this phrase.
Listen to me now – you can’t make anyone happy. Now repeat that out loud a few times. Trying to make someone happy is a zero-sum game. There is no conclusion. It will only end when you leave each other or one of you dies. A man who is living a life of ‘wife-supplication’ is not a man in his wife’s eyes, (and not in many other eyes either). And every time you utter this phrase in front of your wife both of you die a little inside. You die because living a life of servitude to the whims of someone else is a humiliation. She dies because every time you say it you prove to her that she lacks a man for a husband.
Here is a ‘study’ that apparently proves this catchphrase to be true, from the Huffington Post no less. Just a couple of quotes to analyze:
Husbands who rated the quality of their marriage a one but whose wives rated the marriage a four were happy with their lives overall, while husbands who rated their marriages a one whose wives also rated the marriage a one reported low overall well-being. The inverse wasn’t true for wives: Women’s happiness didn’t seem to be affected by husbands’ satisfaction with their marriages.
Translation: if you’re miserable but your wife isn’t she doesn’t give a fuck.
As for why women’s happiness doesn’t seem to be affected by their husbands’ marital satisfaction, Carr conjectured that wives generally have no idea if husbands are happy with marriages or not because men aren’t socialized to discuss feelings, good or bad.
Translation: even when the wife is being a bitch it’s the man’s fault for not complaining loud enough.
“If a marriage is good, it often is due to the stuff the the wife is doing, the love and support that she’s giving,” Carr said. “Consequently, that means the husband gets more.”
Translation: If a marriage is happy it is due to the wife.
Worthless studies like this aside, there is, surprisingly, a large truth in the phrase. ‘Happy wife, happy life’, does not mean that you need to make your wife happy.
It means you need to find a happy woman and marry her.
Common to all the great marriages and relationships that I personally know, (and there aren’t many of them), both partners are genuinely happy people. They wouldn’t think about taking their frustrations out on their partner or making them demean themselves for their own short-term contentment. They are marriages of equals. The husbands do not have to ask ‘permission’ to do something. The idea of asking my wife for permission is completely alien to our relationship. I simply let her know what I’m doing. She in turn is happy that I’m having a good time.
Only children require constant external stimulus to be temporarily happy. If your wife needs such stimulation, unfortunately for you, you’ve married a child. In that situation you have two options. Leave her, and know that she’ll take you for just about everything that you’ve got. Or take a stand and begin to be a man in her eyes. It will be painful in the short term, but in the long term it just might work out.