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Have you ever wondered what it takes for a relationship to be happy and long-lasting? What makes couples decide to break up or stay together and get married? Sometimes, it’s not just the obvious answers. Interestingly enough, there a few things that couples can do to make their relationship healthier- and it’s all proven by science! What do scientists know about love, you say? Well through extensive scientifically-backed research, here’s 10 things they found that couples can do to make their relationship better:

1. Cuddle

Studies have shown that couples who cuddle and snuggle up in bed are in happier relationships. According to a study done by Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist of the University of Hertfordshire, “couples that sleep close together are happier than those who don’t.” The findings of the study showed that 94% of the couples that spent the night in physical contact were happy with their relationship whereas only 68% of couples that didn’t cuddle up said that they were happy. If you aren’t doing it already, try cuddling up next to your partner more often- because science says so!

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2. Perform small gestures for one another

Findings of the social scientists at the Open University in England showed that small acts of affection like a kiss, hug, or an unexpected small, sweet gesture strengthens the bond between couples. Dr. Jacqui Gabb, co-author of several books focusing on love and relationships, said that “Actions really do speak louder than words and many people consider a loving gesture to be as valuable as hearing ‘I love you’. Grand romantic gestures, although appreciated, don’t nurture a relationship as much as bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed.” So that brings us to the question, when was the last time you did something for your partner? 

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3. Share chores

For couples that live together, a poll done by the Pew Research Center in 2007 showed that “sharing household chores” is in the top 3 on a list of 9 items often associated with happier relationships. Showing your partner affection is not enough- wanting to share in the responsibilities at home shows that you care. 

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4. Do (small, mundane) things together

Couples who habitually do things together, are happier together. They don’t necessarily have to be doing everything together but making time for each other daily, weekly, and monthly is a proven habit of happy couples. We don’t just mean attending a party together or traveling together, but small things too: Having breakfast together daily, grocery shopping together, running small errands together, etc! 

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5. Stay calm during arguments 

You and your partner should know better than to make decisions when they’re mad. When a heated argument arises, both of you should know when to talk away and take time to clear your heads. You’ll really need to calm down before you open up to your partner again. Catecholamines is the chemical released by your brain when you’re angry and gives you a burst of energy that may cause you to yell at your partner without clearly thinking about the consequences. By walking away before you speak, this gives you enough time to let the Catecholamines chemical release pass, allowing you to see the bigger picture and understand where your partner is coming from.

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6. Laugh

Who doesn’t love laughing and having a great time with their partner? A study done by professors of the Psychology Department of the University of North Carolina cited that couples who laughed together are more likely to be satisfied in their relationship. Frequent giggling is also found to be an indicator of a happy relationship!

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7. Check in with each other

Dr. Cooper Lawrence, a psychologist and media personality, mention in her work that happy couples often check on each other throughout the day. They call or message to check on the other’s well being. A simple text asking, “How was your day?” or “How did the presentation go?” will show your partner that you care and that you’re thinking of them. 

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8. Share drinking habits 

We’re not necessarily saying drink less or don’t drink, but actually we’re telling you to share the same drinking habits as your partner. University of Buffalo in New York conducted a study and found that divorce rates was nearly at 50% for couples who did not share the same drinking habits. Couples who have the similar drinking habits or don’t drink at all are more likely to be happier, according to the study. 

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9. Be honest 

Every couple goes through rough patches, and being honest with yourself and your partner will greatly affect not only the length but the happiness of your relationship. It’s important that couples are comfortable enough to share things that bother them with their partner (i.e. jealousy, anger, etc.) A study from the University of Illinois stated that couples that are honest about their expectations early on in the relationship are usually headed for marriage. Honesty is the best policy, especially if you want a long-lasting, healthy relationship. 

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10. Say “Thank You”

A study from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, examined whether there is a "glue" that binds relationships together. They found that the answer was gratitude. They found that when couples expressed gratitude towards one another, there was an increase in their oxytocin levels, a neuropeptide that promotes pro-social behaviors like trust and affection. Who knew that these two words, “thank you” go such a long way!

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