According to a study done by two sociology profs at the University of Virginia, the following are most closely correlated with happiness of wives:
A husbandâ€™s emotional engagement.
They write: “Women who think that housework (and other family responsibilities) are divided fairly are significantly happier than women who think that their husband does not do his fair share. Note, however, that most wives do not equate fairness with a 50-50 model of equality.”
A breadwinning husband.
They say: “American wives, even wives who hold more feminist views about working women and the division of household tasks, are typically happier when their husband earns 68% or more of the household income.”
A commitment to marriage.
They note: “Wives who share a strong commitment to the norm of lifelong marriage with their husbandâ€”e.g., who both believe that even unhappily married couples should stay together for the sake of their childrenâ€”are more likely to have a happy marriage than couples who do not share this commitment to marriage.”
Staying at home.
By which they mean: the wife doesn’t work. They note that this is particularly true for women with children.
Shared religious attendance.
Traditional gender attitudes.
Their comment: “Wives who hold more traditional gender attitudesâ€”e.g., who believe that wives should focus more on nurturing/homemaking and husbands should focus more on breadwinningâ€”are happier than wives who hold more feminist attitudes.”
(The list is in order of importance. Unfortunately, the full text of the article is not yet available online, so I can’t comment on the study itself or any methodological blunders they may have made.)