London: Married men may soon be seen trying to be less happy - a new study shows men happier than their other halves could be heading for the divorce courts.
The research, conducted by a team of economists, identified a potentially disastrous phenomenon they call "The Happiness Gap".
The team used data from tens of thousands of relationships to find that the bigger the gap in the happiness of husbands and wives, the greater the risk of a split.
This effect was noted only when the husband was happier than his wife.
In these cases, it was more likely that the unhappy wife would initiate divorce proceedings.
Experts used the previous economic and "lifestyle satisfaction" studies of couples in Britain, Germany and Australia to arrive at their conclusions.
The happiness gap widened when wives had to do most of the housework, if they had different social backgrounds from their husbands, or higher than average incomes.
The gap was closed when couples were matched socially, if they shared a religion, if the chores were shared or if the woman was a housewife, a student or retired.
"Studies have shown that couples who marry with similar levels of schooling, age, ethnicity, religion and social background have longer marriages," the Daily Express quoted team member Dr Cahit Guven, of Deakin University, Australia, as saying.
Guven added: "In the UK 61 per cent of women of the highest happiness tier were married to men in the same tier. In Australia the figure is 53 per cent and this number is 70 per cent in Germany.
"Our research further shows that happiness isn`t able to be redistributed between the husband and the wife for couples whose relationship ended with divorce."