7 Scientifically proven ways to improve your relationship
Forget fancy dinners or diamonds this Valentine’s Day—our relationship expert on why the secret to keeping your alive marriage could be as simple as putting the kettle on.
1. Make a cup of tea
Put the Champagne back in the fridge—and put the kettle on. The most popular drink for showing a partner true love is a cup of tea. In 2014, the Open University studied over 5,000 people’s relationships. One of the questions they asked was, “What does your partner do that makes you feel appreciated?” The answer, “Brings me a cup of tea” was so outstandingly popular that it warranted a special mention in the study.
2. Bonus points: always give your partner their favourite mug (and never use it yourself)
A recent study by Heinz showed that almost a third of the UK has a favourite mug, to which they're emotionally connected. One in six people would feel angry if someone else used the mug, and 38 per cent would hide it in future. Having an emotional attachment to an inanimate object is called “endowment effect’”—we imbue the object with our own thoughts, emotions and feelings. You can demonstrate your understand your partner’s feelings by respecting their, perhaps unexpected, attachment to that small pile of chipped china.
3. Give a Valentine’s card
Online-dating site match.com found that a card was the favourite token of love for people in a relationship, with 46 per cent of couples saying they’d rather receive a card than a fancy meal or a present. Couples’ second favourite method of celebrating Valentine’s Day was simply receiving a romantic verbal gesture, such as being told, “I love you”. For maximum impact, tell your partner those three little words while you hand over that one little card.
4. Turn off your phone
If you spend your evenings snuggled up on the sofa with the latest love of your life—your smartphone, laptop or tablet—it’s time to turn off, before your partner does. A study published in Computers in Human Behaviour found a distinctly negative correlation between relationship happiness and heavy social-media use. Probably because when you give your attention to people outside your relationship—even just by busily communicating with them over Facebook—you have less to give to your other half.
Interestingly, a separate study found a link between how much time people spend on Twitter and how long their relationships tend to last. The research, by dating website OKCupid, found active Tweeters tend to have shorter relationships than those who avoid the social-media platform altogether.
5. Say “thank you”—a lot
Never underestimate the power of showing your partner gratitude. It’s been repeatedly proven to be one of the sexiest things you can do. Researchers at Florida State University found a strong link between the amount of gratitude in a relationship, and how long it will last.
Also, cultivating gratitude has been proven to lower the levels of depression. If you take a moment every day to think of something you are grateful for, and then say thank you, you’ll boost your partners mood and your own.
6. Celebrate your partner’s good news
When couples begin to get resentful and competitive of each other’s good fortune, love starts sleeping in the spare room. A study by UCLA found the highest levels of commitment, happiness and love between partners who were genuinely pleased about each other’s successes, and celebrated them.
7. Watch chick flicks together
In brilliant news for rom-com lovers, researchers at Rochester University discovered that couples who watched mushy movies together (and discussed them afterwards) cut their likelihood of divorce just as much as couples who attended Compassion Training sessions, or practised Conflict Management.
The three-year study gave couples homework of watching one romantic film every week and discussing it together afterwards. They found that across all three groups, the divorce rate was cut from 24 per cent down to just 11 per cent. (If that’s something you’d like to try with your partner, you can download the list of films and questions here).
You can read more from Kate on her website
Enjoyed this story? Share it!
Loading up next...