The role of male attractiveness in the happiness of marriage has been a topic which has consistently received a lot of attention in the manosphere. As Novaseeker has explained, we live in an age of hedonic marriages, where attraction plays a major role in the contentment and happiness of both spouses. The role of female attractiveness in marriage, however, has received far and away less attention. Fortunately, Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit posted a link to a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The study concerns how the happiness of a marriage is impacted by the wife’s attractiveness. A few relevant parts from the whole article:
A study of more than 450 newlywed couples over the course of four years found that men with physically attractive wives remained much more satisfied in their marriage than men who did not. However, the attractiveness of a woman’s husband played no part in the satisfaction that women felt from their marriage.
The study strengthened support that there is a gender gap for how much physical attractiveness corresponds to (self-reported) marriage happiness.
Husbands with attractive wives in all four independent, longitudinal studies analyzed were more satisfied than their wives at the beginning of each marriage. As the marriage progressed, the husbands with the attractive wives remained more satisfied, and the attractive wives in these couples also reported being more satisfied.
You can read the full article here.
Now, at first glance it seems like this study contradicts the manospherian “wisdom” that husband’s attractiveness impacts his wife’s happiness with the marriage. This part I quoted uses the word “attractiveness” for both men and women, but earlier in the article, in a part that I don’t quote, the author used the word “looks” instead. At this point my regular readers have no doubt picked up on the obvious flaw in the article: the author has confused a man’s Looks with his attractiveness. Needless to say, a man’s Looks are only a single component of his overall attractiveness to women. But of course, this is something that few people really understand, and so male attractiveness and Looks are confused all the time. The unhappy result of this is that we get studies like this, which are reliable in one sense (the wife’s attractiveness), but not in another (the husband’s attractiveness).
Still, the study does seem to support the idea that the attractiveness of one spouse does make a difference in the happiness of the other. Around these parts we’ve long known this to be the case for men, and now it appears to be the case for women as well. This is altogether unsurprising to me, both because of the prevalence of hedonic marriages, and because attraction connects to the deepest and darkest parts of our brains, and so is likely to greatly influence all of our mental functions. Happiness and contentment being just two examples.
Update: This also matches up with what St. Paul said in the First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 7. If it is “better to marry than to be aflame with passion” than it stands to reason that one should probably not marry unless there is at least some sort of passion between a couple. And attractiveness certainly plays a role here.