Science: When It Comes to Marriage, Being Right Means Being Happy



When one man was asked to agree with everything his wife said or asked him to do—”to agree with his wife’s every opinion and request without complaint,” to be exact—it took him a mere 12 days to lose his mind.

Researchers in New Zealand, tongues planted firmly in cheeks for the sake of an amusing Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, decided to conduct an experiment (note: this is not a study) in which they instructed a husband to do the above (he was being agreeable and therefore the “happy” in this little trial), and did not instruct his wife—also, did not inform his wife of—anything (making her the “right”).

In 12 days, the dude’s quality-of-life-o’meter had fallen from a 7 to a 3 (the wife’s had risen from an 8 to an 8.5, obv), he confessed what had been going on to her, then promptly called up the researchers and waved the white flag.


It seems that being right, however, is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness.

Or, in other words, duh.

*We at PW present the entire contents of this experiment without any deep analysis or reflection on the motivations or assumptions involved in the conducting of this experiment.

RELATED: Study: Be As Drunk Or As Sober As Your Spouse, and You’re Good to Go 

RELATEDStudy: Women Adore Their Pets, Could Take or Leave Their Husbands 

RELATEDStudy: Men Stop Caring About Their Looks 26 Months After They Get Married, Or At Age 46, Whichever Comes First 

RELATED: Study: Couples Are Happiest After Three Years of Marriage  

Like Philadelphia Wedding on Facebook

Follow Philadelphia Wedding on Twitter

Sign up for the Philadelphia Wedding newsletter

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.