I recently found an interesting article on the Daily Mail (a British newspaper) website which is titled Marriage 'more satisfying when wife is THINNER than husband'.
In short, a study conducted that followed the calculated body mass index (BMI) of both the husband and wife of 169 couples under the age of 35 over the course of 4 years determined that as long as the husband was larger than his wife, both at the start and throughout the study, he maintained a higher level of happiness.
Conversely, a heavier husband did not impact the level of happiness of the wife. However, a wife who had a lower BMI than her husband was in fact "significantly happier" than a wife whose BMI matched or exceeded her husband's.
Aside from the obvious conclusion, that younger men view physical attractiveness with greater significance than younger women, the lead female researcher, doctoral candidate Andrea Melzer remarked, "The great take-home message from our study is that women of any size can be happy in their relationships with the right partner. It's relative weight that matters, not absolute weight. It's not that they have to be small."
This could explain the number of couples I know, or have seen on Only Simchas where the guy is quite a bit larger than his fiancee/wife. I do wonder though, if the results or further testing could show to what degree a woman, from the average male's perspective, "should" have less BMI than he does? While the study proclaims that married women shouldn't feel the need to be pressured to fit into size 0 jeans to please their husband, how does this reflect on the shidduch world when reality is so distorted and unreasonable sizes are demanded just to make the cut for a potential date?
Is it possible that such research could demonstrate that a guy legitimately only needs a girl who has less BMI than him, within a healthy range that would account for his personal preference (not every man likes supermodel thin or more zaftig women)? Perhaps this could somehow be explored to put a spotlight on how bad things have gotten with expectations of women's sizes and put our dating culture back on a more realistic, functional track?