A mathematical formula for the perfect wife?

Published: June 15, 2011
Study says wife should be 5 years younger, smarter and from same cultural background as groom.

Study says wife should be 5 years younger, smarter and from same cultural background as groom.

Scientists announced that for a successful marriage, a bride should be five years younger than her groom, should come from the same cultural background, and be the more intelligent of the pair if couples are to have a successful marriage.

The report published in The Telegraph talks about a team from the Geneva School of Business that found that this formula. The study shows that, if adhered to, the formula would increase a couple’s chances of a long and happy marriage by 20%.

The academic study, published in the European Journal of Operational Research looked at 1,074 couples aged between 19 and 75 years, to find which social factors were most important to a long and happy relationship.

Besides the man being five years older than his bride, and that his bride should share the same heritage, they concluded that a wife should be at least 27% more intelligent than her husband. She should also hold a degree, while he should not.

The academics found that marrying a divorcee reduced the chance of wedded bliss.

Nguyen Vi Cao, who led the research, promised: “If people follow these guidelines in choosing their partners they can increase their chances of a happy, long marriage by up to 20 per cent.”

Kate Figes, who interviewed 120 people for her recent book on understanding relationship, Couples, said: “Aren’t most women the more intelligent in a relationship anyway? That’s my first reaction.

“It’s the only finding that rings true, from what I’ve found. Because it’s women who tend to determine the emotional landscape of a relationship,” she said.

“So I don’t find it surprising that women should be more intelligent.”

However, she warned that men should not stop making an effort.

“Intelligent men understand that for a relationship to be happy, their partner has to be happy,” she said.

Linda Blair, the clinical psychologist and author of Straight Talking, said: “Going back to prehistory, women have needed to invest more in relationships than men, because men are more biologically adapted to spread their seed around.”

They were therefore more likely to invest their intellectual abilities in maintaining that bond, she added.

“But you can convince yourself of anything,” she added.

However, Christine Northam, a marriage counsellor for Relate, said dismissively of the findings: “There are lies, lies and statistics.”

She could not agree that wives should be more intelligent than their husbands.

“Modern marriage is about both of you having an input in the relationship,” said Mrs Northam, who has been married for 41 years.

“It’s about teamwork. It’s not about one being dominant over the other.”

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Reader Comments (58)

  • chengez K
    Jun 15, 2011 - 6:01PM

    Christine Northam is indeed more intelligent than her spouse.Hence,the result!!!Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:14PM

    WOW….What a startling revelation… all of sudden from no where west is trying to research on marraiges.. looks like it is indeed extinct there….. err does this packages comes with Expiry date..???Recommend

  • Saima
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:18AM

    what a meaningless and bogus research!Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:18AM

    Read Quran and find exact definition..Nothing more simple than what Quran told us but we are blind and deaf. If we deviate from what is suggested by creator, we cannot find the right answer.Recommend

  • Muddassar
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:52AM

    This research only consist on English couples there is no any example of Islamic couples. And according to our research in Islam If the female is near to 40 and Male is near to 25 that marriage gives us the lesson that there is no limits of age for a good couple. But very sorry now we are following the Mathematical formula. Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:02AM

    Balderdash!!! Ashton Kucher has a great marriage with Demi Moore, a classic beauty. When they married Ashton was 27 and Demi was 42 years old in 2005. For a man starting a family is very stressful. You have to work hard at it day and night. To escape from this stress Ashton was blessed with 3 daughters. I would do the same if I had a second chance. Are there any women in Pakistan like Demi Moore??? Recommend

  • Jun 16, 2011 - 12:30PM

    Oh I promise you guys that it’s really not taken that seriously in the regions it originates from. There are silly studies like this in magazines that most people roll their eyes at. Honestly, I’m surprised it actually got noticed by other areas. Most people ignore it.

    This is far from the dumbest of the bunch as well. It all really amounts to things we read while waiting in a waiting room for an appointment, shake our heads at while we’re on the toilet or glance at out of boredom in a check-out line in a store.Recommend

  • Jun 16, 2011 - 12:48PM

    Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that we should marry young spouse of our age so that we should play with our spouse. Although muslims have not absorbed this instruction, unfortunately.Recommend

  • Casual
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:22PM

    O Come on!!! Everything is not a matter of calculations. ;-)Recommend

  • talha
    Jun 16, 2011 - 3:56PM

    Didnt make sense at all!!!

    Wat a crapRecommend

  • Muddz
    Jun 17, 2011 - 12:16PM

    There is nothing like Mr. perfect or Mrs. Perfect. Its an illusion to know that. What makes a perfect marriage is how they make their marriage with communication and understanding. Recommend

  • Almas Abbas
    Jun 17, 2011 - 2:48PM

    i agree with Mrs Northam!Recommend

  • Nak
    Jun 17, 2011 - 4:04PM

    I agree with this last line “It’s about teamwork. It’s not about one being dominant over the other.”Recommend

  • Syed Hamid Ali
    Jun 18, 2011 - 9:51AM

    I am fully agreed with “Read Quran and find exact definition..Nothing more simple than what Quran told us but we are blind and deaf. If we deviate from what is suggested by creator, we cannot find the right answer”.Recommend

  • Aasif
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:56AM

    The Pakistani research has revealed that 99 % of the marriages are successful if and only if ” wife is richer than the husband”……:):)Recommend

  • Zeeeeeeeeeeee
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:38PM

    @Aasif: Ahhahahahha………..loooooooooooooolzzzzzzzzzzzRecommend

  • SKhan
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:11PM

    I think its only depend on Understanding. I also agree that the difference between Couple should be at least 5 year. Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2011 - 9:32AM

    Well, someone said that if wife is richer than husband, marriage works. Wrong, I would say. In our country most of the times it is the exact opposite.

    Someone quoted the hadith of Prophet. He is right on spot. We should marry younger women then ourselves (as per research as well) but we must also play with them. Men here like to play with other women and not with their wives. Still, I think we have a much better retention value of marriage than the West. At least we are better poised to make judgements and throw answers. Recommend

  • Faith
    Jun 21, 2011 - 9:13AM

    My parents have been married for 17 years now, and my mom is 12 years younger, so this calculation does not apply to all.Recommend

  • Karim
    Jul 9, 2011 - 9:43AM

    I have read many researches as they say’s man with big belly are good enough on bed :P
    And men with Fat and Chubby look got more salary then normal and fit men. LOL


  • rajab
    Jul 9, 2011 - 10:26AM

    what a creep!,can anyone explain what is meant by playing with ones wife?


  • Name
    Jul 9, 2011 - 4:49PM

    The reasons everyone is commenting is because it’s so easy, you don’t have to register. :)


  • Mohammed Maqbool khan
    Jul 10, 2011 - 2:40AM

    i think man and woman msut be age differencs approx 10 to 15 years but if its not must be five years difference


  • Asad
    Jul 10, 2011 - 5:19PM



  • Sobriquet
    Jul 11, 2011 - 9:10PM

    @Billoo Bhaya:
    You ask: Are there any women in Pakistan like Demi Moore? No. Either they have been shot, stoned to death or have left the country. But don’t lose hope. If things change in perhaps a hundred years, and you live long enough, you still might have a chance. ;)


  • K-R-Siddiqui
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:54PM

    okay!..you lost me at 27% more intelligent..so tell me…how…or more importantly…where does one go to gauge the intelligence of the bride…? :s…..


  • Shakir azeem
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:32PM

    People in eastern countries are more successful in making family relations then the western countries because of the rules received by the Creator in the shape of a book(Quran) and thease rules were practiced by the Holy prophet(SAW).So in this concern also we should not follow the western reasurches.So i totally agree with “Read Quran and find exact definition……..”


  • Jul 12, 2011 - 8:22PM

    I think successful marriage depends upon the person’s nature rather than the age. Except for the age factor, I think other points are ok type.


  • noor
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:22PM

    i m not agree with this research.this is by human but we have more authentic guidelines by our ALLAH and prophet.no age limits and financial situations are required.the only things are required are the character of both man woman.


  • Abdul Jabbar Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:14PM

    Yes we can say that on average people this research can be applied and can be true. Bus in exceptional circumstances so many people compeltly from different cultural backrounds happily live togather. Human is so much dynamic in nature so this research may work for some limited area but very very difficult to see this applicable gloably. But at the end I would like to suggest all the men and women that unless there is some kind of exception please try to adopt the principle less female and greater male age. It helps a lot on pschy, culture and family.


  • Robert
    Jul 13, 2011 - 2:11AM

    Oh God, why do you people start to preach Quran everywhere!
    I think the age difference is always good.


  • Jul 13, 2011 - 10:50PM

    Hah, I couldn’t even get a genuine laugh out of this. So bogus.


  • Unkown
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:40AM

    @Robert: Spreading the truth is a revolutionary idea in this era


  • Abu Abdullah
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:16PM

    and what about chemistry :)

    I believe its respect and fulfilling each others rights as prescribed to us Quran and Sunnah, that make a marriage work.


  • Ameer
    Jul 15, 2011 - 9:54AM

    @Umer Toor:
    I think we should not bring religion here Toor, if we see Prophet Muhammad he also married a women who was 15 years ( His first wife) older than him. so there is contradiction in your quotation.


  • kimz
    Jul 15, 2011 - 3:57PM

    @Fahad Raza:

    lol at ur hidden prejudices against West :P


  • kimz
    Jul 15, 2011 - 3:59PM


    Excuse me Chilli , stop bringing religion into everything and by the way most of the people in west are not muslims , so stop being over-suggestive :P


  • kimz
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:01PM


    lol .. that 40 and 25 thing was an exception – there was other case also when wives of prophet were younger than him. the research states that this is the ideal case if female is 5 years younger , but surely its not the definitive law


  • kimz
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:04PM

    @Umer Toor:

    WHAT ? “…we should marry young spouse of our age so that we should play with our spouse”

    lol.. Wives are not toys :P
    they are not only married for physical satisfaction
    we need to change this mentality

    plz think before you write


  • kimz
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:09PM

    @Mohammed Maqbool khan:

    10- 15 years younger :P lolz…. i pity you would think the same for your daughters also :P


  • sameer
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:13PM

    @Shakir azeem:

    i think its more to do with the culture of subcontinent than religion , even in India, Nepal etc marriages work, whereas their the majority doesn’t follow islam


  • Abdul Lateef
    Jul 15, 2011 - 4:50PM

    There might be some reasons when you have said that its a bogus resarch, but research is research and does not say that it represent all casts of the society.


  • danish
    Jul 15, 2011 - 6:05PM

    its all abt trust and understanding with flexibility


  • morning
    Jul 16, 2011 - 9:31AM

    this was such crap!


  • Shakir azeem
    Jul 17, 2011 - 10:04AM

    I don’t say that the people of subcontinent are obeying islam,but in the past whole the east was obeying islam.So the effects are preset even in this era, while in west it was not practiced efficiently.


  • mazhar
    Jul 17, 2011 - 1:41PM

    Lies,lies and damn statistics.
    While quoting a hadith pl quote the source ,if possible.
    The holy prophet PBUH first married to a woman 15 yrs his senior and last marriage to a much younger (48 years) .
    Age has a little to do with successful marriage.


  • Hassan
    Jul 17, 2011 - 8:21PM

    The beauty of relationships is that we accept each other with all the flaws that we have :) If you are planning to marry a flawless person then “good luck” as there is no such thing as a “flawless, mr/miss perfect” in the real world.


  • nwaq
    Jul 18, 2011 - 1:51PM

    Not applicable in Pakistan.Here even if a wife is 100% intelligent than man he would find a way to suppress and intimidate her with his chauvinism.


  • sana
    Jul 18, 2011 - 4:49PM

    okay, i’ll be on the lookout for old, dumb paindoos.


  • Jehad Ali
    Jul 19, 2011 - 12:23PM

    very good research but some of the points are true only for america not for the whole world.


  • Ahmed
    Jul 20, 2011 - 1:12AM

    Such results cannot be generalized. The study has a very local and short sample.


  • mehran
    Jul 20, 2011 - 3:38PM

    Please this research not a perfect solution for the life. This research is only applicable in society where research have been conducted not in an alien society. western society is totally different then eastern society. Even if we look in Pakistan every province got different approach on marriage issues. therefore it entirely wrong if we adopt a research conducted by western world on the western people . It is an open secret that man and woman with equal education , status , and back ground will be comfortable to spent their lives then an unequal status wether educational , social or economical. Age difference is not playing a vital role in marriage relationship but same age people have equal opportunities to understand the surroundings because they both belong to same generation . after all marriage is the merger of two entities therefore ups and down will come and go.


  • innocent
    Jul 23, 2011 - 12:21AM

    dont twist the things. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) only said (in some context), marry within the same age so that you can enjoy the relationship a bit more (not just physical satisfaction).

    And someone here was very right that we should not enter religion everywhere.


  • JD
    Jul 24, 2011 - 6:13PM

    This is all Crap… There is only 1 Rule…..



  • Ezeei
    Jul 27, 2011 - 5:43PM

    What a trash!! Couldn’t the business school use its resources for some useful purpose? A real bad business decision by a school teaching business.


  • ValJo
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:12AM

    I am now a woman of 52 and each time I tried life with an older man (since my 20’s) they were too boring and made me feel old before my time.
    I finally found my soulmate in 1987, he is 5 years younger then me and we have a very solid and happy bond.
    Young women are not still enough in their minds usually to commit to a serious lifelong relationship, they naturally require attention and that can lead to flirting and often adultery.

    Math has absolutely nothing to do with happiness or finding your true love.


  • ValJo
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:15AM

    What becomes of your successful marriage when the lady you love ages into an old hag will you desert her in her needy years?


  • ValJo
    Aug 9, 2011 - 12:18AM

    There is an old 1960’s song that says,” If you want to be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife, cause from a personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you!”

    The cute ones cheat, flirt and get upset when their looks fade, then your left dealing with an aging beauty queen and those are some crazy people!


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