Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guy > Girl = Happy Marriage?

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?



  1. I'm waiting for Princess Lea to go off on a tirade about how BMI should not be on a guy's radar.

    The research leaves out personal experience. For example, a thin guy with a fat mother may likely date fat girls because he is used to that. A fat guy with thin family may conversely only date thin girls because he thinks he is what he sees and from viewing his family members, has built a false image of himself in his mind.

    The REALITY is, that while looks are important to both sexes, it's more important to the guy.

    Yet, the guy has to be REALISTIC. I'll put it this way: A shadchun was lamenting to me how fat guys are asking for skinny girls and the shadchun was furious and turned-off because those guys are fat - like they don't DESERVE skinny girls. She then said that she had no problem with a guy like me (thin) hypothetically asking for a thin girl.

    I feel that as long as the blind dating system continues, weight will be a big issue because it's a paper game and not a natural one. But, if you naturally meet the person, one is more likely to take everything together and not micro-manage every factoid about the potential other.

  2. I think that the BMI theory is actually a very good point considering that i've seen as many boys care about looks than girls. The only difference is that they look at different thing. For the guy, its really about the attraction while for most girls, it's more about what you refer to as BMI so that they can feel comfortable. Ive heard many of my friends say they wouldn't want to date someone skinnier than them because they would feel fat. I think thats understandable and its a need to feel petite, relatively, and petite. Is that image guided by our culture? probably, by all the romance in novels in disney in which inevitably the prince is bigger than hi sprincesse.
    But what does it mean that "they don't DESERVE skinny girls"?
    It makes me sad to hear such comments considering that weight is very often a genetics and not a handicap (in most cases). Who can talk about deserving such a subjective concepts such as looks?? like Lawschooldrunk said, maybe a skinny guy wants a heavier girl. Its not about deserving at all. And a girl will ultimately be attracted to the inner quality of a guy anyways.

  3. Perhaps women who are with men that have a higher BMI then them feel self-conscious about their body and those with a man who has a higher BMI feel less pressure to be super-twig-thin.

  4. Interesting...
    Why did you delete your post from a few months ago about how baalei teshuva should involve parents with dating? It was interesting.


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