Researchers claim to have come up with the vital ingredients for a long-lasting marriage. The recipe, apparently, is four kisses, three cuddles and a romantic night in!
A two-year age gap, a couple of shared hobbies and a sprinkling of “I love yous” also help couples stay together, according to confetti.co.uk, the wedding planning website which carried out the survey of 3,000 married people, published this week.
Other important factors in staving off divorce include meeting through friends and marrying after a three-and-a-half year courtship.
Once married, a couple should say “I love you” to each other at least once a day and have sex three times a week, the research found. Two romantic meals out each month and three nights a week cuddling on the sofa are also part of the successful formula for staying wed.
As with many surveys, you can take this with a pinch of salt, but I think it might help to re-focus people’s minds on what marriage is about.
Whilst it can be counter-productive to a relationship to imagine the first throes of lust will endure with the passing years, it is can also be damaging to a relationship to believe that being “best mates” is enough.
Keeping romance alive is not easy in today’s culture, when so many other things demand our time, but every relationship needs nourishing if it is to stand the test of time.
If you and your spouse have busy jobs and a young family, going out for dinner together twice month might not be practical. But that doesn’t stop you expressing your feelings for one another with gestures and words. A playful tickle or a brush of the hand can remind you of the special bond you share.
The new survey also found that three ‘phone calls, emails or texts while at work keeps a relationship strong. Again, this might not be possible if you have a boss breathing down your neck, but a quick text during your lunch break might help to keep you connected to your other half.
Conversely, the research showed that while the ideal couple will share two hobbies, it is also important to keep some independence. Two separate nights out with friends a month is the answer, said the survey.
If your relationship is going through a rough patch or teetering on the brink of collapse, it might be worth mulling over the above ingredients for a “perfect marriage” before deciding to give up. I often see clients who believe their relationships to be over but who lead me to think that the marriage is salvageable.
Just as molehills can become mountains, so mountains can be reduced to molehills by positive – rather than reactive – behaviour.
I know, from professional and personal experience, that ailing marriages can be turned around. It may take more than four kisses, three cuddles and a romantic night in – but they’re a start!