A new study says weight doesn't hurt a marriage—so long as you weigh less than your husband.
It's no secret that a walk down the aisle most often brings with it a weight gain of about six to nine pounds. But what's been a secret or a misinformed public opinion is that your weight gain is a key factor in determining marriage satisfaction. The thought being: if one or both spouses weight shifts dramatically it's not usually a positive swing for the relationship. Actually, a new study shows, marital satisfaction is better determined by a wife's weight gain relative to her husbands.
University of Tennessee psychologist Andrea Maltzer's team tracked 165 couples over a four-year timespan. The couples completed questionnaires every six months to determine their level of satisfaction. Findings? Husbands who were satisfied at the time of marriage remained so over time, to the extent that their wives maintained lower BMIs than their own, researchers reported. In other words, weight gain is OK, so long as the woman's not gaining it solo, and to a greater extent than her husband is.
When rapid or extreme weight gain enters the picture, it's usually not just about "letting go a little bit," and is often related to more complicated issues like discontentment within the relationship or one's personal life, or a lack of intimacy. It adds up that a couple who gains together stays together-but when one partner turns to food for comfort and the other doesn't, it's often both a source and a warning sign of deeper unrest within the individual and, in turn, the relationship.
While studies like this one prove illuminating, we're waiting for the next phase in research: now that we've identified a problem, how can we fix it?