Psychologist Andrea Meltzer and her team discovered that spousal attractiveness does play a huge role in marital satisfaction - BUT only for men. Which means men care about looks more than women do.
The authors write, "The significant effect of wives’ attractiveness on husbands’ satisfaction was significantly stronger than the nonsignificant effect of husbands’ attractiveness on wives’ satisfaction, indicating that partner physical attractiveness played a larger role in predicting husbands’ marital satisfaction than it did in predicting wives’ marital satisfaction."
Interestingly, attractive wives also reported higher levels of satisfaction; because having a happy husband made them happier too.
Similarly, a study conducted in 2008 at the Relationship Institute at UCLA reached the same finding. Researchers theorized that men who felt they "lucked out" by marrying attractive wives were happier and more likely to care about their wives needs, and in turn, these good-looking wives were happier in the relationship too.
“The husbands seemed to be basically more committed, more invested in pleasing their wives when they felt that they were getting a pretty good deal,” study author Benjamin Karney explained.
However, it was the total opposite when the husbands felt they were more attractive than their wives. Karney says, "They didn’t seem to be quite as motivated to help out their wives when they were more attractive than their wives."