Romantic relationships are challenging, rewarding, confusing, and exhilarating–sometimes all at the same time.
Should you take things slowly at the beginning or dive right in? Can things stay hot in the bedroom even after years of being together? What happens when one of you wants to use a holiday bonus to invest in Bitcoin and the other wants to go on a vacation?
The answers aren’t always clear, but when it comes to marital satisfaction, science has some interesting things to offer.
According to research, the happiest couples are those who:
1. Don’t fight over text
What seems obvious is now backed up by science: a study out of Brigham Young University shows that couples who argue over text; apologize over text; and/or attempt to make decisions over text, are less happy in their relationships.
When it comes to the big stuff, don’t let an emoji take the place of your actual face.
2. Don’t have kids
Children are one of the most fulfilling parts of life. Unfortunately, they’re hell on relationships. Numerous studies, including a 2014 survey of 5,000 people in long-term relationships, show that childless couples (married or unmarried) are happiest.
This isn’t to say you can’t be happy if you have kids–it’s just to understand that it’s normal to not feel happy sometimes. Many couples put pressure on themselves to feel perfectly fulfilled once they have what they’ve always wanted (a long-term partnership with children), but the reality of kids is that they’re very stressful on relationships.
3. Have friends who stay married
If you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you’re also just as married as them.
According to research out of Brown University, you’re 75 percent more likely to get divorced if a friend or close relative has already done the deed. When it’s someone one more degree of separation out (the friend of a friend), you’re 33 percent more likely to get divorced.
Researchers had this to say on the ramifications of the results: “We suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship.”