Extreme Marriage Experiment Says It's Better To Be Right Than Happy

12/18/2013 05:40 pm ET

It took all of 12 days for one man to be driven crazy after he was asked by scientists to agree with everything his wife said.

Three doctors from New Zealand designed the marriage experiment -- published in the tongue-in-cheek Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal -- to determine whether it was more important to be right or to be happy in a relationship.

They conducted their experiment on one married couple, where the husband was instructed do everything his wife asked him to do and to agree with everything she said -- instructions which were completely unbeknownst to his wife. The researchers decided, without consulting the couple, that the husband would be designated the "happy" participant, and the wife would be designated the "right" participant -- thereby defining happy as being agreeable. Both participants were asked to report their quality of life daily, using a scale from one to 10.

But the experiment didn't last long. According to the authors of the study, "The data safety monitoring committee stopped the study because of severe adverse outcomes after 12 days. By then the male participant found the female participant to be increasingly critical of everything he did."

After 12 days, the man's quality of life had fallen from a seven to a three. Conversely, the wife's happiness raised from an eight to an eight-and-a-half, but after six days she became hostile toward the researchers recording the data and gave no more information.

"It seems that being right is a cause of happiness, and agreeing with what one disagrees with is a cause of unhappiness," the researchers wrote in the study.

We're not totally sure what this experiment proves -- if anything -- but at least we now know that a subservient husband does not a happy marriage make.

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