Ladies, maybe you can hang onto Mr. Unsightly for a while longer.
Your girlfriends can laugh all they want. Little do they know his looks — or the lack thereof — are his greatest asset.
A new study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Psychology by researchers of the University of Tennessee, lead by James McNulty, reveals that looks do in fact matter.
They just don't matter in the way you thought when gazing into George Clooney‘s eyes on the screen, fantasizing about getting him to marry you.
It turns out that couples in which the wife is better looking than her husband are more positive and supportive than other match-ups, LiveScience reports:
McNulty's team assessed 82 couples who had married within the previous six months and had been together for nearly three years prior to tying the knot. Participants were on average in their early to mid-20s. Researchers videotaped as each spouse discussed with their partner a personal problem for 10 minutes. The tapes were analyzed for whether partners were supportive of spouses' issues, which included goals to eat healthier, to land a new job and to exercise more often. "A negative husband would've said, 'This is your problem, you deal with it,'" McNulty said, "versus 'Hey, I'm here for you; what do you want me to do?; how can I help you?'" A group of trained "coders" rated the facial attractiveness of each spouse on a scale from 1 to 10, with the perfect 10 representing the ultimate babe. About a third of the couples had a more attractive wife, a third a more attractive husband and the remaining partners showed matching looks.
And guess what they found?
Wives and husbands behaved more positively when the woman was better looking.
On the other hand, in couples with more attractive husbands, both partners were less supportive of one another.
Wives apparently tend to mirror, in some ways, the level of support they get from husbands to study indicates.
According to McNulty, men who are more attractive than their partners would theoretically have access to partners who are more attractive than their current spouses, so they tend to be less committed to maintain the marriage.
The good news is that it’s the other way around with uglier husbands, McNulty told LiveScience:
The husband who's less physically attractive than his wife is getting something more than maybe he can expect to get...He's getting something better than he's providing at that level. So he's going to work hard to maintain that relationship.
Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences and Sloan School of Management, even put his two cents in. He thought the study the finding seemed “very reasonable," although he wasn‘t involved in the study.
He told LiveScience:
Men are very sensitive to women's attractiveness. Women seem to be sensitive to men's height and salary.
Well, ladies, there is your recipe for a happy marriage.
He needs to be tall, rich and — most importantly — ugly.