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You’ve probably heard the saying, “Happy wife, happy life,” and it turns out there’s more to that phrase than being catchy counsel for newlyweds.

A study recently published in Health Psychology found a unique social link between happiness and health among older adults. After studying 1,981 couples for six years, researchers found that spouses with happy partners were more likely to report better health, even when their own happiness was significantly lower.

William Chopik, PhD, is the principal investigator of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. Chopik said in a press release that this is a step forward for studies of happiness and health.

“This finding significantly broadens assumptions about the relationship between happiness and health, suggesting a unique social link. Simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to be happy oneself.”

This isn’t the first link between happiness and healthiness, but Chopik wanted to explore the concept in relationships. He listed three possibilities for why a happy partner could make you healthier: They could make life easier, provide stronger social support and get unhappy people to become involved with activities that promote good health.

“Simply knowing that one’s partner is satisfied with his or her individual circumstances may temper a person’s need to seek self-destructive outlets, such as drinking or drugs, and may more generally offer contentment in ways that afford health benefits down the road,” Chopik said.

The full report, Happy You, Healthy Me?, can be found here.

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