Married? Here are 2 traits couples need for a happy spouse and healthier life

Posted at 7:44 AM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 11:38:27-05

You've probably heard the old adage "Happy wife, happy life." Well, researchers say it goes for both sexes.

Studies show having a happy spouse may actually help you live a healthier life.

Whether you're a newlywed or in your golden years, a happy marriage is kind of like a constant dose of good medicine.  

"Happiness and marriage are all incredibly important. They're essentially ways of ablating the stress effect," said Dr. Michael Roizen of the Preventive Medicine Department at the Cleveland Clinic.

Research by the Cleveland Clinic looked at about 2,000 couples between the ages of 50 and 94 and found that people who reported having happy spouses also reported having better health. 

Dr. Carol Weisfeld -- a Professor of Psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy  is passionate about this topic. 

She and her husband Glenn -- who works at Wayne State University -- have been married 41 years. 

Together they've interviewed about 5,000 couples from six different countries.

They found that you have to have 2 traits to make a happy marriage. 

The first one is kindness.

"If my spouse is kind to me, then I feel more relaxed. I feel happier with the relationship, and I'm probably going to be more affectionate then with my spouse as well.  And we know that the happiness of one spouse is the best predicter of the happiness for the other spouse," said Weisfeld.

The other must-have trait is humor.

“People will tell us it's not like I want him to be a goofball. I want him to be able to handle a crisis and be so relaxed he can always joke around."

And Dr. Weisfeld says the health impact is real. 

Research has found a happy marriage lowers stress hormones and enhances positive hormones that help immune function.

And the Cleveland Clinic research echoed that finding showing that the key to staying happy and healthy is to seek out those who help you manage your stress and to surround yourself with people who do healthy things.