A recent study found that marriages tend to be more successful in unions where the wife is thinner than the husband. Many women will scoff at this theory but the study raises some interesting questions.
It’s unclear why relative weight plays such a large role in the happiness of a marriage. One theory is that women, coined the “fairer sex”, are expected to be dainty and small in order to be considered beautiful. Likewise, large and muscular men are projected to be powerful. When a woman appears small in relation to a man, it gives off an image of beauty versus power. However, if this theory holds up, then other factors could easily project power besides size. Career potential, education and personality can all be symbols of power for men. These can, in turn, foster feelings of security in women and fulfill both partners’ needs without projecting physical expectations.
Of the 169 couples involved in the study, 94 percent were white and all of them were under the age of 35. The significance of weight and the expectations placed on individuals varies greatly among different cultures and age groups. While one societal group may expect women to be noticeably thinner than men, another may prize voluptuous women as more beautiful. As opposed to focusing on relative size, perhaps we should focus on asserting our power and beauty throughout other aspects of our lives.
Furthermore, the cause and effect of weight gain and an unhappy marriage is hard to dissect. For example, how does one know if the marriage is failing because the wife gained weight or if the wife gained weight because the marriage is failing?
On its own, this study won’t prompt marriage counselors to blame numbers on the scale for troubled marriages but it does lend credibility to an age-old technique. Communication will always be essential to any successful relationship. If you feel like your weight (or your partner’s) is getting in the way of your happiness, then by all means, say something. It’s better to have a respectful and loving conversation about healthy living and body image than to silently mull over topics that bother you.
If you ask me, there’s nothing sexier than a man or woman who takes pride in their health but that doesn’t necessarily translate to “thin wife” and “bulky husband.” Health is a fundamental necessity and the sooner we wrap our minds around that, the better off we will be. Healthy is the new skinny and communication, not weight loss, will always be the key to a fulfilling marriage.
Via ABC News
July 23rd, 2011