It’s Not You, It’s Your Driving: Americans Rate Their Spouses and This Is What We Found
A recent TikTok fad had users rating a fictitious partner with perfect, 10 out of 10 beauty: “They are a 10, but [insert a ludicrous trait that balances their looks and brings them back down to earth with the rest of us].”
Case in point: “She’s a 10, but she’ll find a way to reference Star Wars in any conversion.” (We all have that one friend)
The viral social media game spawned various creative versions and garnered many hilarious reactions. It may have involved imaginary significant others (SOs), but the silly scoring hints at how romantic relationships and our perception of our partners can be less than ideal – a perfectly normal human thing, by the way.
Not long before the popular meme made the rounds, we also got curious about how married people thought and felt about their spouses. We tried a more scientific approach and asked 1,068 men and women to rate their partner – real life, not imagined – in different areas, like satisfaction based on the other person’s income.
The survey we sent out wasn’t just about quantifying the less-than-ideal. But sometimes, even psychologists use numbers to help couples navigate the murky waters of marriage.
So, let’s take a look and break down the numbers:
Let’s Get the Economics of Marriage Out of the Way
No, we didn’t ask the million-dollar question, “How do you feel about your husband/wife earning more than you do?” Instead, we went straight into the meat of it: “Does your partner bringing home more income than you increase your satisfaction?”
Divided according to gender, the results we found widely differed.
Earning growth from their male spouse made women happier. The median satisfaction rate was 3.6 (based on a scale from 1 to 5), corresponding to husbands earning between $50,000 and $74,999. Then the average satisfaction rate hit 4.8 for women with partners earning $150,000 and above.
Meanwhile, wives reaching a six-digit annual income also bumped up satisfaction scores in male respondents. But the difference between them and the low-scorers wasn’t big – men were relatively content with their wives’ earning potential falling on the lower end of the income spectrum.
Shocking – Millennials Are Actually Satisfied About Something!
Millennials are known for having the most to complain about – but apparently, not when it comes to their marriages.
Shifting the lens to age groups, we saw that the older generations were less satisfied with their better halves. It seemed the partners of baby boomers and Generation X, people born between 1946 and 1964 and between 1965 and 1981, respectively, were falling below expectations.
The opposite can be said about the younger cohorts. The millennials, whose eldest members are just entering their 40s, were the most satisfied. And even with the majority of Generation Z still outside of marrying age, those in such a relationship reported fulfillment with their partners.
Interestingly, when intimacy is involved, boomers bounced back with enthusiasm. They’re reportedly better in bed, followed closely by Gen X. Apparently, experience matters and, indeed, practice does make perfect.
To Me, You Are Perfect … In Certain Areas
Husbands rated their spouses high in categories such as cooking, cleaning, communication, planning and memory.
|While some gender roles on the domestic front, such as cooking and cleaning, tend to stick – and social scientists know the reason behind that – this remains a complex yet relevant topic. And we’d like to point out that sharing tasks equitably between men and women in the household is becoming more common. It’s just that, according to separate studies, women and men felt happy sharing errands. But it seems doing more than their partner with certain tasks does not always spark joy on both sides.|
On the other hand, women also have different expectations of their husbands. For example, they said they’d be satisfied if their partners scored high in areas such as hygiene, driving, taste in food, work ethic and personality.
She’s a 10, But She Drives Me Crazy – Literally
It’s not always rainbows and butterflies for men and women who gave their partner the highest score.
For the men, they admire their wives for a number of traits – but driving prowess isn’t one of them. Apart from their skills on the road, other areas needing improvement were finances and emotional maturity.
Are You Hearing This?
Lastly, it looked like husbands rated a perfect 5 by female respondents were not-so-perfect after all, especially when it comes to listening and having patience. Their cleaning performance (or possibly the lack thereof) might have also caused displease in their partner.
Let’s Get Real
Whether or not the respondents would be particularly pumped if they were the ones being rated is a story for another day. But you might have wondered: Why rate each other in the first place?
According to some experts, aka therapists, couples could benefit from assigning a numerical score to their relationship, including satisfaction with their partner. This would actually help them evaluate their expectations about their partner and the relationship. Obviously, people are happier when expectations are met or exceeded.
And in a world where less-than-perfect relationships exist, we can give our SOs a perfect score. But we can also do better by talking about what comes after the “but.”
We surveyed 1,068 people. The respondents taking the survey chose to participate and this survey was open for all demographics to take. All of our respondents were from the United States, and were sourced via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service.