Ivory Towers: Similarity breeds content
Wednesday 21 July 1993
The research was based on questionnaire responses, with two items in a long list designed to measure whether the respondents regretted their marriage: 'Have you ever thought of divorcing?' and 'Would you marry the same person again?' Two further questions were included to identify whether respondents thought their spouses unpleasant: 'How often do you have a serious row?' and 'Is your husband/wife really nasty to you?'
Together, those questions gave a measure of satisfaction with which other answers could be correlated. The other items covered a range of items including health, wealth, beauty, intelligence and happiness.
The conclusions confirmed earlier studies in the United States that had shown husbands and wives to be generally similar, and the more similar they are, the happier and more stable their relationships. 'Another widespread criterion is male dominance, which females in several primate species seem to find desirable in a mate.'
The British study confirmed the desirability of similarity and male dominance, 'but excessive husband dominance reduced satisfaction'. There was no support for the view that husbands should earn more, be better educated or have wealthier parents than their wives, all of which have been found to make for happy marriages in America. In Britain, however, there was 'qualified support' for the view that dominant men marry attractive women. Also 'husbands tended to regret the marriage significantly less often if their wife was more attractive than they'.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview is finally released after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food