Whenever I'm walking around D.C. with friends on sunny Saturday afternoons, we inevitably see lots of babies: adorable, fat, charmingly bald babies. It's not uncommon to hear sighs of "oh my gosh, he's so precious!" and "I want one!" from my companions; I, too, have been accused of being a baby stalker from time to time.
But at The Atlantic's One Day University event on Saturday, Amherst psychology professor Catherine A. Sanderson made a convincing case that cute kids (and cute husbands and wives) might seem different when they're yours to keep. She gave a witty lecture on what social science can tell us about happiness, and these were my three biggest take-aways:
First, I will no longer have to worry about being awesome if I get married, because my husband will probably be happier for having taken vows regardless of how great I am. In studies of marital satisfaction over time, Sanderson said, "there is in fact a positive correlation for some people. Guess who those people are? Men. For men, yeah, being married makes you happier, and the good news is, it doesn't matter at all who you're married to. It could be like a mail-order bride from Russia—does not matter at all."
Overall, marriage is a big win for men: "Men who are married are happier than men who are not. They also make more money, they also live longer, they have fewer psychological problems, etc. etc.," Sanderson said.