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Worldwide Study Shows Marriage Can Make You Happier Than Double Your Salary

One of life’s greatest mysteries right up there with why babies smell so damn good is the secret to happiness. Is it your kid? Is it your spouse? Is it hiding from both of them in the bathroom? Or perhaps it’s a combination of the 3. New research from the London School Of Economics give a few clues as to where contentment comes from.

Researchers looked at the responses from 200,000 people compiled from several international surveys. Participants were asked to rate different factors like income, physical health, mental health, and of course, partner status on a scale of one to 10. While doubling a person’s pay only produced a happiness increase of .2 percent, having a partner boosted well-being 3 times that. (Good thing you didn’t marry for money.) Relationships were more closely correlated with life satisfaction than misery overall, but mental health problems like depression and anxiety took a greater toll on people than even bad relationships. So your spouse was right, they are keeping you sane.

More importantly, the single biggest predictor of future life satisfaction was mental health as a child. While that may make you more anxious about raising a tiny human, being proactive will keep that stress from rubbing off on them. Authors of the study also recommend that governments focus as much resources on well-being creation as wealth creation. And since that’s not likely to happen, you’re that much luckier to have your spouse.