We’ve all heard the phrase before: happy wife, happy life. But could this be scientifically true? A new study has found that having a happy partner or spouse may make a person's life easier and may be related to better health, at least among middle-aged and older adults.

"Simply knowing that one's partner is satisfied with his or her individual circumstances may temper a person's need to seek self-destructive outlets, such as drinking or drugs, and may more generally offer contentment in ways that afford health benefits down the road," said William Chopik, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and principal investigator of the study.

The fresh research, published in Health Psychology, also found that happy partners provide stronger social support, such as caretaking, compared to unhappy counterparts who are more likely to be focused on their own problems and stress. Additionally, it was revealed that cheerful spouses have the potential to get unhappy people involved with activities and environments that promote good health — including maintaining regular sleep cycles, eating nutritious food, and exercising.

"This finding significantly broadens assumptions about the relationship between happiness and health, suggesting a unique social link," Chopik said in the study."Simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to be happy oneself."

Researchers examined 1,981 heterosexual couples for the study. They also examined survey information of the couples, age 50 to 94, and participants rated their own happiness and life satisfaction. Interestingly, the results showed no difference between husbands and wives; the results applied regardless of gender.

Source: Chopik WJ, O’Brien E. Happy You, Healthy Me? Having a Happy Partner Is Independently Associated With Better Health in Oneself. Health Psychology. 2016.

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