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Couples Roundup

January 8, 2010

Two new studies investigate what keeps couples content.

Transcript

Sculpting the perfect spouse. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, researchers report that couples in which each person views their spouse not as they are, but as they wish they could be are happier. For example, if Joe would like to be more outgoing and funny, and his wife Jane thinks of him as a sociable, entertaining person, they’re likely to be a happy couple. And the researchers found that over time, it’s likely that other people will see Joe as increasingly outgoing and funny, too.

In other couples news, University of Western Ontario scientists report that couples who share household chores are happier than couples with the more traditional roles of breadwinner versus homemaker. The researchers add that sharing breadwinning and homemaking jobs also leaves women less vulnerable in case of a breakup or the death of a spouse. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.