Our good friend science has made another groundbreaking discovery about human relationships. This time it’s that “marriages are more satisfying when the wife is thinner than the husband.” What? Yes. Actual researchers followed actual newlywed couples for four years, checking up on them every six months to gauge happiness in accord with size. Men with a higher Body Mass Index than their wives were “a little happier” to start with than those with the same or a lower BMIs. This stayed the same throughout the four-year period analyzed. Meanwhile, while wives weren’t really affected by the BMIs of their husbands at the beginning of their marriages, by the fourth year, “the wives whose BMI was lower than that of their husbands were significantly happier than those who had the same BMI, or a higher one.”
The findings remained the same even factoring in other things you’d think would more significantly impact happiness than your weight ratio to your spouse — like depression and income level, for instance. Huh. So, does this mean that all of those stereotypical schlub-married-to-a-hottie-themed sitcoms actually carry a grain of truth? Or is this just some sick enforcement of female weight obsessiveness? According to the lead author of the study, Andrea Melzer,
“The great take-home message from our study is that women of any size can be happy in their relationships with the right partner. It’s relative weight that matters, not absolute weight. It’s not that they have to be small.”
Translation: To be happy, pick a fatty. Except, Melzer cautioned, there’s no guarantee, because relationships are quite complex. And there you have it. Thank you, science.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2011