© Beth Nakamura / The Oregonian
The secret to a happy relationship? It's not simply a matter of one partner agreeing with the other all the time, researchers say.
It is better to be right than to be happy - at least for one husband on the cutting edge of science.
As part of an unusual experiment, the husband was instructed to "agree with his wife's every opinion and request without complaint," and to continue doing so "even if he believed the female participant was wrong," according to a report
on the research that was published Tuesday by the British Medical Journal
The husband and wife were helping a trio of doctors test their theory that pride and stubbornness get in the way of good mental health. In their own medical practices in New Zealand, they had observed patients leading "unnecessarily stressful lives by wanting to be right rather than happy." If these patients could just let go of the need to prove to others that they were right, would greater happiness be the result?
Enter the intrepid husband. Based on the assumption that men would rather be happy than be right, he was told to agree with his wife in all cases. However, based on the assumption that women would rather be right than be happy, the doctors decided not to tell the wife why her husband was suddenly so agreeable.
Both spouses were asked to rate their quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the happiest) at the start of the experiment and again on Day 6. It's not clear how long the experiment was intended to last, but it came to an abrupt halt on Day 12.