Married life can be overwhelming for newlyweds who are coming down from a wedding high. It's not all wedded bliss: couples are a mix of personalities that do not always mesh in conflicts, but science suggests a husband's behavior can influence his wife's relationship satisfaction during her menstrual cycle. A psychologist at Florida State University found married women are more likely to report marital satisfaction during ovulation when their husbands are masculine.
The study, published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences , noted women experience ovulatory shifts in mate preferences during long-term relationships. In other words, a woman's fertility and her partner's masculinity influence marital satisfaction. The more dominant, powerful, masculine, and assertive men were during the ovulatory phase — middle of the menstrual cycle — the more likely women benefitted in the relationship.
“In this study, wives who were married to relatively more (versus less) masculine husbands reported higher marital satisfaction near ovulation compared to less fertile phases of their ovulatory cycle," Andrea L. Meltzer, a FSU psychologist who conducted the study, told PsyPost.
Previous research suggests women do prefer more masculine men near ovulation in a short-term relationship context. In a 2014 study, women were most attracted to powerful men, but they didn't view them as long-term partners. This suggests women experience preference shifts, even though they might not serve any function in the present.
This prompted Meltzer to ask 70 first-married newlywed couples to complete a survey every evening for 14 days. The survey evaluated the wives daily conception risk as well as their daily marital satisfaction, while men self-reported how masculine they perceived themselves each day.
The findings revealed: “Men’s masculinity can benefit heterosexual women in the context of long-term relationships" said Meltzer.
Women with husbands who reported higher behavioral masculinity were more satisfied with their relationships during ovulation compared to less-fertile phases of their menstrual cycle. Meanwhile, women with husbands who reported less behavioral masculinity showed no shifts in satisfaction. The level of marital satisfaction remained the same for these women.
It appears women's preference for masculinity extends beyonds looks to behaviors. Wives short-term mating strategies appear to interact with their partner's genetic qualities to influence satisfaction even in long-term relationships, such as marriage. Previous research hypothesizes this behavior could be a leftover evolutionary trait that would guarantee women to get the best genetic material from a mate when they were most fertile. This would ensure their offspring would be more likely to survive and add to their gene pool, although this may not apply to today's society.
This also puts into question what women want in men when they're not ovulating. Not enough attention has been given into the traits women prefer when they're not fertile.
Understanding these preference shifts during the time of the month, could help women make better informed decisions when it comes to dating.
Source: M AL. Wives with masculine husbands report increased marital satisfaction near peak fertility. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences. 2017.