While sex is a vital and fun part of marriage, many couples agree there is one thing that's even better: Laughing. According to a recent Reader's Digest survey, married couples in the U.S. are happier and more fulfilled in their unions than ever before. When husbands and wives chose from a list of options the factors that were most important for a good marriage, laughter -- specifically, time spent talking, laughing and having fun -- was deemed far more important than either the quality or frequency of sex.
Finding 1: Marriage Isn't Broken
When the 1,001 married people surveyed were asked if they would marry their spouse all over again, 71% agreed they would. 62% said "I love my spouse even more than when we were first married." 61% were married for 21 years or more find their marriage is better than the typical American marriage.
Finding 2: Laughter is More Important Than Sex
When husbands and wives chose the factors most important for a good marriage from a list of options, the following items rose to the top and fell to the bottom: Trust: 63%. Time spent talking, laughing, having fun: 52%. Compatibility: 30%. Quality of sex: 13%. Frequency of sex: 9%.
Finding 3: Guys Get Mushy About Marriage, Too
In the survey, participants were asked to write verbatim answers to questions regarding their marriage. In reviewing the hundreds of responses from men, researchers were struck at the preponderance of highly emotional, positive and sensitive answers. The comments were in strong contrast to common stereotypes of men as emotionally detached. When asked to describe their most cherished marriage moments, men said:
- "Kissing in the snow."
- "The look of joy and happiness on her face as she came toward me at the altar."
- "The first and every time we make love."
- "I can't believe how lucky I am to have the woman of my dreams. I cherish every moment of every day that I'm with her."
Finding 4: Being Married Has Its Perks
Infidelity is not a challenge most married couples face, according to the survey. When asked to choose from a list of challenges experienced while married, "buying a new home" was noted as a challenge by 55% of respondents making it the most popular answer, while "infidelity" was at the bottom of the list at 13%. Women are funnier than their husbands expected at the start of their marriage with 47% of men saying their wives' sense of humor was "better than expected." When asked to choose from a list of things they miss from when they were single--including "being more adventurous sexually," "living by my own rules" and "dating" -- most often men and women said "nothing at all" (41%).