We are always interested in learning the keys to a successful relationship. What are the things that can split a couple up or make their love last? A happy relationship requires both people to put in the effort and the work that’s necessary to ensure a stable emotional environment. Scientists have done a lot of work to give you insight into what can help you keep your relationships happy.
Bright Side has collected 8 science-based facts that can show you the secrets of successful relationships. The facts are very interesting — for example, American psychologist Robert Zanjonic even proved that couples in strong, vibrant relationships start to look alike after 25 years together!
1. Jealousy is in your genes.
In order to investigate the influence of your DNA on jealousy, scientists studied the answers of 3,000 pairs of twins because of the similarity of their genetic make-up. The results showed that 1/3 of your tendencies toward jealousy are likely to have a genetic origin. There’s no doubt that the other 2/3 depends on environmental factors, meaning the kinds of events that have happened in our lives have more of an influence. The way we react to the idea of a partner’s betrayal is influenced by the way we’re brought up and by the people and events we see around us.
2. Happy couple ratio
John Gottman, a notable relationship expert, has conducted research where he studied the habits of couples to understand the difference between happy and unhappy ones. The experiment was simple, they asked partners to solve a conflict in 15 minutes. The discovery showed that healthy couples have a so-called “magic ratio” that is necessary to make love last. A relationship can be stable if they have 5 positive interactions for every negative one during a conflict. He also identified a ratio for couples who are likely to divorce. These partners have just 0.8 happy encounters for every negative one. Negative moments during conflicts include being critical, being defensive, or negative body language, like eye-rolling. Happy couples start conflict more gently and they try to maintain closeness and positivity throughout the conflict.
3. The importance of friendship
Research from the Gallup Organization has shown that emotional connection is extremely important for marital satisfaction, and could count for as much as 70% of a couple’s happiness. So if you want to make your relationship stable, you need to think of ways to boost the quality of your friendship. It’s said that the most frequent reason for divorce is losing a sense of closeness. Only 20% of participants blamed an extramarital affair for being separated. And this can even be tied back to the closeness issue, as it was found that most affairs are started with an attempt to find attention, support, and friendship.
4. 6 hours to a better relationship
John Gottman, a marriage researcher, claims that he found a noticeable difference between successful relationships and failing ones. He says that couples who continue to improve their mutual relations try to invest an extra 6 hours each week in their love. He wants to share an approximate formula of spending this quality time together: Goodbyes: Give your partner a warm goodbye to make sure they leave with a positive mindset. This only takes 10 minutes per week. Hellos: When you see your partner again, give them a hug and a kiss that lasts at least 6 seconds. After the kiss, have a stress-reducing conversation that might last as long as 20 minutes. The total time for this is one hour and 40 minutes per week. Appreciation and admiration: John Gottman encourages couples to keep an admiration journal, where they can record small things they admire in their partner. This takes 35 minutes per week. Affection: Expressing physical affection is really vital if you want to connect with each other. Don’t forget about cuddling and goodnight kisses before falling asleep. This takes 35 minutes per week. Date night: In order to stay close to each other, it’s important to have romance in your relationship. Try to spend around 2 hours on a date, once a week. State of the union meeting: Dr. Gottman suggests that it’s necessary to spend approximately one hour a week talking about issues in the relationship. It can change the way partners solve their conflicts.
5. Being in a relationship can make you fatter.
New scientific research has confirmed that being in a relationship can increase your chances of gaining weight. This conclusion was made after gathering data over a 10-year period from 15,000 participants. They found out that individuals in couples weigh more than single people. They said it could be explained by no longer needing to look attractive to their partners. They don’t want to impress them and don’t care about being slim in most cases. They also warned that having children can make the situation worse because parents tend to eat their leftovers and snacks.
6. The Michelangelo Effect
Another discovery, called the Michelangelo effect, claims to keep your relationship as strong as stone. The name of this phenomenon comes from the idea that the partner is the sculptor. Michelangelo was a master in revealing hidden majestic figures in stone. If 2 people in love support the emergence of positive traits that can get them closer to their ideal selves, their relationship can last a long time. When they interact with each other, they help bring out the best in their partner.
7. Shared laughter
According to Appalachian State University psychologists, laughter plays a significant role in successful relationships. The couples who liked spending time together observing positive events feel much more satisfied with their partners. Laughing together takes one of the top three places among the reasons for happy relationships. Nearly 80% of participants said they laughed with their romantic partner at least once a day or more.
8. Shared household chores
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, sharing household chores is pretty important for long-lasting couples. The only factor the participants rated higher is a happy sexual relationship. Romantic partners who split the chores of their everyday routines tended to feel more supported and satisfied with their love life. If you are lazy at home, try to appreciate the work your partner does by saying simple things like “thank you.”
Romantic relationships are hard things to understand. Throughout the years, scientists have tried to create a perfect formula for long-lasting love. We can use their insights to create our own ways to make our relationships successful.
What do you think makes love last? Share with us in the comments.
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