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Generous Couples Have Happier Marriage, Study Finds

Generous Couples Have Happier Marriage, Study Finds

You know the saying, “it’s better to give than to receive.” Well according to researchers at the University of Virginia, giving within a relationship makes for a happier marriage.

The study, which involved more than 1,400 heterosexual couples between ages 18 and 46, found couples who reported a high amount of generosity in their relationship were five times more likely to say they have a “very happy” marriage.

Generosity, in this study, was defined as the amount of giving that goes on within the relationship and can mean anything from sharing food to ordering flowers to washing dishes.

Though generosity was important in a marriage, it did not trump sex, researchers found. Married men and women who reported above-average sexual satisfaction in their relationships were 10 to 13 times more likely to describe their marriage as “very happy.”

Researchers found generosity may make for better sex. Couples who reported high levels of generosity also reported high levels of sexual satisfaction.  Wives who said they shared household chores with their husbands reported being more likely to be sexually satisfied.

“What happens outside of the bedroom seems to matter a great deal in predicting how happy husbands and wives are with what happens in the bedroom,” said study researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

About 46 percent of men and half of women who reported above-average generosity in their relationships described their marriages as “very happy”; 14 percent of each sex with below-average generosity in their relationship described their marriage as “very happy.”

The researchers compiled a list of the top five predictors of a very happy marriage based on study responses.

  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Level of commitment (a sense of “we-ness”),
  • Generosity
  • a positive attitude toward raising children
  • For women, the fifth factor was above-average social support from friends and family, and for men, the fifth factor was spirituality within a marriage.

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