Shawn Grover and John Helliwell have just written a paper that claims to say something about marriage and happiness. Just about all the news coverage of this research has featured headlines like "Married People Are Happier People" or "Definitive Proof That Marriage, Especially To Your Best Friend, Makes You Happier."
The paper is just one of the latest contributions to the academic sub-discipline of happiness studies. Serious people study happiness, and they aim to have a serious impact on public policy, with publications like the World Happiness Reports.
Just one thing: most of this research is about something other than happiness. A good chunk of it is about "satisfaction". Much of the rest is about quality of life. The Grover-Helliwell paper, for example, is partly based on data from questions such as “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?” or "How dissatisfied or satisfied are you with your life overall".
Satisfied. Not happy.