The NYT has an article about research that proves that marriage, its associated benefits, and other personal relationships have been shown to be more important than money or career success in producing happiness. The whole article is worth a read, but here is an extract:
The daily activities most associated with happiness are sex, socializing after work, and having dinner with others. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income. According to another, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year.If you want to find a good place to live, just ask people if they trust their neighbors. Levels of social trust vary enormously, but countries with high social trust have happier people, better health, more efficient government, more economic growth, and less fear of crime (regardless of whether actual crime rates are increasing or decreasing).