Physical attractiveness plays role in marital satisfactionMen are more visual than women. It's been an accepted truth for years- with the greatest evidence given that men generally rate physical attractiveness of their partner as more important to their happiness. Women, on the other hand, say attractiveness is affected by other qualities such as the man's sense of humor and their perceived abilities to be a good father.
Recently, a new study has been completed which suggests that the physical attractiveness of one's spouse "plays a major role in marital satisfaction for men, while women's happiness in their marriage was not affected by their husband's physical attractiveness."
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, interviewed more than 450 newlywed couples over the course of four years. What they found may surprise you. Men who had wives who remained physically attractive tended to be much happier in their marriage than those who did not. Women's happiness, however, was not affected by the physical attractiveness of their spouse.
Experts contend that this study may give additional credence to the notion that happiness in a marriage could be affected by physical attractiveness of their spouse. Not only were the men more satisfied with their attractive wives at the start of the marriage, but if their spouse remained attractive, the husbands remained more satisfied. The women were also more satisfied if they remained physically attractive.
What did the researchers say about physical attractiveness?
"Whereas husbands were more satisfied at the beginning of the marriage and remained more satisfied over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive wife, wives were no more or less satisfied initially or over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive husband," wrote researcher Andrea Meltzer, of Southern Methodist University's Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences.
Another interesting side note, women who married a less attractive husband also claimed that they were happier in their marriage. Researchers decided this might be because an unattractive husband who feels they "won the lottery" and "married up" may decide that they should work a little harder to keep their wives happy. This may translate to better support and attention towards the wife, two things which wives rate as very important.
What does physical attractiveness mean for you and your marriage?
I never liked the attitude of women or men who got married and gave up all efforts to maintain their physical attractiveness. I'm not talking about putting on a few pounds after the baby is born or getting a few more wrinkles as you age. Both of these are natural and understandable. I'm talking about the wife who never dresses up or wears the sweats 24/7 or the man who refuses to shave and bath regularly.
Most experts advise working at your marriage like you would work at your dating relationship. Continue to date each other, and try, to the best of your ability, to stay healthy, active and strong. Keep looking the best you can and it will be a reminder that he's never likely to find someone more beautiful or who loves him more than you do, and based on this study it sounds like you both will be happier.