Is Health And Happiness Affected By A Spouse’s Time At Work?

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on January 27, 2014

A research study printed in the Journal Social Forces entitled: ‘Is Health Affected By A Spouse’s Time At Work? ‘ explains that physical health is affected by a spouse’s time at work. Specifically, the article addresses that husbands who work 50+ hours per week predicts better health for wives. Whereas 41-49 hours per week for wives working predicted worse health for husbands. This study may have caused confusion for some into assuming and thereby stating as fact that when a man works 50+ hours the wife is happier. This is NOT what the study suggests at all. Why the confusion? Perhaps it has something to do with a report written in The Telegraph that states: “the secret to a happy marriage is a hard working husband who spends long hours at the office, a new study suggests”. An article in The Daily Mail has as their title line: “Keep your wife happy…spend more time at work: Husbands should do longer hours at the office study states”. As a marriage therapist I will share that one cannot extrapolate that a study which explains that a spouse’s health is affected by a spouse’s time at work means nor infers nor states the level of marital happiness.

A husband who works 50+ hours will have a happy wife – that is the inference? Come on!!!  Does a physically healthy wife infer a happy wife? Does a physically healthy wife infer a happy marriage? Can it be extrapolated that if your husband works 50+ hours per week you are more likely to have a happier marriage than if he worked less hours per week? No, no, and no. The physical health of the wife does not infer a direct causation as to the happiness of the marriage whole, nor the happiness of the wife within the marriage . 50+ hours per week of work by the husband is not the secret formula for what it takes to make for a happy wife. And I repeat again: that is not what the study stated, yet some are being misled due to reported commentary regarding the study! In fact, for some marriages a husband who works 50+ hours per week and has a physically healthy wife – does not a happy marriage make. For others, they are quite happy.

If you find this topic interesting and wish to hear my further insights where I field questions from anchor Mark Ockerbloom during my interview on FOX News Boston evening which aired on 1/27/14, I invite you to do so. In addition, during this interview I share several tips for what does make for a happy marriage.

If you wish to learn more tips and techniques for a successful, happy and healthy marriage, you are also welcome to take a sneak peak into my most recently published book, Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual.

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