According to a new study, if you want a happy marriage, both you and your spouse need to be generous. Making someone dinner, a nice foot rub, a little gift or gesture, any of these things and more can be considered generosity in marriage. According to this research generous couples were five times more likely to report their marriage as “very happy” compared to those who reported a marriage that was not as generous. Each couple used in this study did have children. Experts believe that when we are generous we are actually sending the message that our spouse is valuable and important to us. And of course actions speak louder than words.
Though generosity did increase marital satisfaction significantly, one place that raised it far more was the couple’s sex life. Those couples who reported having “above average sexual satisfaction in their relationship” were ten to thirteen times more apt to label their marriage as a “very happy” one. According to this research, these two elements are not exclusive, but in fact are linked. Being generous may make sex better, say researchers. Those married couples who said that they spent more quality time together, were very generous, and had a high level of commitment also reported high sexual satisfaction levels.
Associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a researcher on this project, W. Bradford Wilcox said of this, “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.” It’s really important that you tailor your act of generosity to fit your spouse’s personality, likes, and interests. As Wilcox said, doing so is “…signaling to your spouse that you know them, and are trying to do things for them that are consistent with your understanding of them.”
This study was part of a bigger project called the National Marriage Project. 1,400 couples were surveyed. They were heterosexual and between the ages of 18 and 46. Researchers boiled down their results to the top five predictors of a marriage that was very happy and satisfying. The first four were the same for both sexes: sexual satisfaction, commitment, generosity and positivity towards the children and the raising of them. For men, the fifth one was spirituality while for women it was social support of friends and family. Remember that generosity is interpreted by different people in different ways. Both partners have to be mutually generous as well. Get to know your partner really well, what they like and what you can do for them. Being generous will only make them want to be generous to you in return. And who doesn’t want that? For more advice read, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things that Make a Big Difference by Shaunti Feldhahn.