We’ve all witnessed some of our friends growing in size every time you see them but on the other hand, I’ve also seen couples who have lost weight during their relationship. However, according to the 2013 published study “Marital Satisfaction Predicts Weight Gain in Early Marriage” by The American Psychological Association, it seems that happy couples did indeed see a weight increase.
Following 169 newly married couples biannually over the course of four years, researches recorded and evaluated several covariates such as height, weight, marital satisfaction, stress etc.
The following statements show the two conflicting models: The Health Regulation Model Vs. The Mating Market Model
“The health regulation model suggests that satisfying relationships facilitate the functions of marriage that promote health. Thus, spouses should be most likely to gain weight when either partner is less satisfied because marital strain causes stress that interferes with self-regulatory behaviours.”
“The mating market model, in contrast, suggests that weight maintenance is motivated primarily by the desire to attract a mate. Thus, spouses should be least likely to gain weight when either partner is less satisfied because they should feel an increased need to attract a new mate.”
According to the study, the results supports the mating market model. Their own and partner satisfaction were positively associated with the changes in their weight. “Spouses who were less satisfied than usual or had partners who were less satisfied than usual were more likely to consider divorce and thus less likely to gain weight.”
“Spouses in satisfying relationships relax their efforts to maintain their weight because they are no longer motivated to attract a mate.”
Sarah Novak, associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and coauthor of the study, told Elite Daily that couples don’t necessarily get fat together. “We’re talking 5, 10, maybe 15 pounds over four years. That’s not a lot, but it can be a meaningful amount for potential health risks like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, especially if the pattern continues over more time.”
“If you run five miles every day because you enjoy it, being in a stable, happy relationship won’t undermine that. But if you run five miles every day because you want to look cute to attract someone new, you’ll lose that motivation when you’re in a happy relationship.”
“People’s priorities are different when they think they might have to date and attract someone new. If you think your relationship might end, you might prioritize healthy eating and working out. If you’re comfortable in your marriage, you might prioritize activities that are more pleasurable, like sleeping in or sharing brunch.”