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Happy Wife, Happy Life?


If I had a dollar for every time I heard this phrase, I still wouldn’t be rich, but I could go on one hell of an Amazon shopping spree. But my first stop would probably be the liquor store, because whenever I hear it, that’s the only thing preventing me from strangling the offending party. Let me state this early, and probably often; my woman’s happiness is very important to me. It is probably one of the MOST important things to me. But here’s the question that many women will call selfish and many men will only cheer for quietly because they’re scared of their women. Why is her happiness more important than mine?

Now, in the grand scheme of things, I probably spend a lot more time making sure she’s comfortable, settled and generally satisfied than I do worrying about myself. But I do this knowing that she’s right next to me doing the same. So, my beef isn’t with her, it’s with the usually perpetually single, bitter or man eating women that like to spit out that tired, cliched line. We hear constantly how we’re to treat our women like queens, but what the hell are we, the court jesters?

The notion that as long as my woman is happy, I shouldn’t worry about anything else is at best laughable, at worst, damaging to potentially great relationships. The last thing anyone should want to do in a relationship is lose who they are because that’s who your woman fell in love with in the first place. Because of that, we shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice our own happiness for anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I compromise. We went to Papa John’s instead of Pizza Hut last week. We bought the car with the grey interior instead of the beige and when she said not tonight, I completely ignored the urge to scream WHY THE F*** NOT?!?!? Compromise is essential to a successful relationship, so I recognize that no one will ALWAYS be happy and that’s truly the nature of that phrase.

The idea of “Happy wife, happy life” is that, if you treat your woman right, love her and respect her, the admiration and respect she’ll have for you will create a great bond and everyone will be harmonious. However, as with many misconstrued quotes over time, this one has been bastardized beyond recognition, transformed into “Do what I say or your life will be hell.” I wince whenever I hear it, and fight the urge to ask “Do you know what happiness really is?” My wife doesn’t want a beat down man, afraid to speak his mind, therefore, she has also learned the art of compromise. If we are to treat our women like queens, then we are to be kings. What does that mean to you?

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Love=Balance, Balance=Love

-Tony B

Tony B is a lover of all and a fighter for worldwide equality. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife of 4 years, two dogs and soon to be daughter Aria. You can read more about his life, loves and pursuits in his blog Childhusbandfather.com


  1. This statement does not mean a man is of any less importance within a relationship. Its just a message to a man, and not necessarily from a females perspective. In my circle, I’ve heard this more from a man to a man. My thoughts are most similar to yours on this topic.

    I don’t involve or perpetuate B.S. nor those who spew it. So when negative people show themselves, I put distance between us.

  2. I concur with Gray. I hear many men say this to one another as if it’s an “old adage.”
    There is some truth to this saying, based on what I’ve seen and heard.
    I agree with your sentiments Tony B. This is a damn good question – “Why is her happiness more important than mine?”
    Imo, it’s actually not more important than yours. I liken it to the idea that you simply “pick your battles,” and do whatever you have to do to keep the peace in your household. Obviously if your wife, and/or s/o is pissed with you, or just upset about anything in general, it will not make for a very happy household for anyone, including your children.
    I believe the same can be said about men. Because when a man loses his job, and has no income, he loses a lot more than just his job; it decreases his self esteem and self worth a little. Any woman who has ever lived under the same roof with her man when he has lost his job for a considerable amount of time knows, that is the one time even the horniest of men are not the least bit pressed for, or remotely interested in sex.

  3. I know that the intent behind this phrase is to tell men to “think about somebody who isn’t you”. After all, even back in the bad old days when wives were basically property, a man didn’t want to waste time and energy putting down rebellions. But this statement never sat well with me. It can easily be misconstrued by folks who don’t do gray areas or nuance. It can be damn near like giving a toddler a blowtorch. And I’ve seen it happen. I’ve overheard SOME women crow that phrase with “the woman is always right” tacked on at the end…and felt sorry for the man. It also gives more ammo to the “no reason for a man to get married”/manosphere types.
    I have been in relationships where I was expected to make the other person happy at all costs under the guise of “compromise” or suffer consequences. Now I am with a woman who takes good care of me and is a teammate that I love making happy and just don’t want to let down. And the feeling is mutual. Guess which one I’m marrying.
    I do think men need some new saying to encourage marital empathy tho.

  4. I see what you’re saying about this phrase being abused and used by some women to perpetuate the idea that men should bow down to their every wish. However I take this phrase at its original meaning, that the general mood and well being of ones wife will have an affect on the husband and her family by extension. For example, my mother has a naturally sunny disposition and is always going out of her way to make my dad and my siblings and I happy. Cakes and cookies just because, little presents showing up in our bedrooms when we least expect it etc. There was a period of time when my dad’s side of the family started ganging up on her and trying to interfere in their marriage (I think out of jealousy). The house was still clean, meals were still on time and delicious but it’s like the atmosphere in the house changed and we all felt it. My mother was very unhappy and it took my dad having to cut contact with his family for several months before things started getting back to normal.
    “Happy wife, happy life” is not about giving in to her demands, it’s about recognizing what is at the root of the unhappiness and trying to tackle that issue. A lot of men fail to realize that when they brush off big issues in a relationship, they don’t go away, they just pop up in petty little arguments about everything ( i.e. You’ve been dating for 3 years and every time she brings up marriage you say let’s talk about it later, then wonder why she’s getting worked up over which Chinese restaurant you’re going to order from tonight). It’s even more frustrating when the guy is conceding to EVERYTHING but refuses to even acknowledge the elephant in the room.

    1. “Happy wife, happy life” is not about giving in to her demands, it’s about recognizing what is at the root of the unhappiness and trying to tackle that issue. A lot of men fail to realize that when they brush off big issues in a relationship, they don’t go away, they just pop up in petty little arguments about everything”

      Co-sign. Ask me how I know….

  5. Wow! I have only heard older (probably wiser, too) men make that statement in good fun but serious truth. I understand your argument but you’re breaking down too many specifics. I am a doctor and I have male patients who come in all the time, mostly because their wives made them come. Their wives tell on them when they skip their meds or break their low sodium diet. They take care of them and look after them. I think most men will realize once the’re past a certain age that happy wife, happy life, but also long life!

    1. I actually just wrote a post on my blog about how people base their relationships on ridiculous memes like this. The people posting these are usually perpetually single or in run down marriages where no one is actually happy.

  6. This was very enlightening to read as a woman! Loved it! You are right. I can honestly say I have lost a relationship because I didn’t value him but valued myself more and needed my needs met above his. Learning better….I learned today! LOL


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