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The Science of Love: 25 Facts About Happy Relationships

BY: msn.com

While it's true that it takes two people who trust and respect each other to make a happy relationship, science has shown that it takes something more than love and companionship to make a relationship long-lasting.

Here we look at a few such facts which, when followed, could make your relationship blossom. 

Don't rush into things

A spontaneous relationship might seem romantic, but it pays when you stick to the rules and take it slow. A study carried out by Georgia-based Emory University found that the longer couples date before marriage, the greater their odds of staying together. 

Avoid expensive weddings

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Flashy rings and expensive wedding parties do not always guarantee happiness and longevity of marriage. The Emory University study found out that in 30 per cent of cases, the duration of marriage is inversely proportional to money spent on the wedding. Debt stress is a common post-wedding phenomenon that usually eats into a relationship. 

Cuddle up together

Couples who sleep close together are much more happy than those who don't. A study by the University of Hertfordshire found that 94 percent of couples who spent the night in physical contact were content with the relationship. By contrast, of the couples that didn't cuddle up, only 68 percent said they were happy. 

Say "thank you"

A study by the Greater Good center at the University of California, Berkeley found that relationships in which both the partners are appreciative of the other's efforts and struggles tend to be more successful. It leads to an understanding, caring and responsive atmosphere in the relationship, thanks to an increase in oxytocin levels, a neuro-chemical that promotes trust and affection.

Be honest

According to a study by the University of Illinois, relationships where both the partners are honest with each other about the state of their relationship stand a great chance of lasting longer. 

Small gestures count

Gestures like a tight hug, a kiss, a cup of tea or an unexpected gift mean as much as physical intimacy for a happy relationship. A study by social scientists at The Open University in England showed that small acts of affection strengthen the bond in couples and keep them stress-free. 

Marriage not the only key to happiness

With more cohabiting couples than ever across the world, a study by the Council on Contemporary Families concluded that cohabiting couples share the same advantage as married ones. In fact, expensive weddings are more associated with higher divorce rates. 

Long-distance relationships do work

According to Cornell University research, couples in long-distance relationships are more likely to have deep bonding than those who are physically closer. With the revolution in online technology, increasing use of networking tools like Skype and FaceTime allows couples to stay closer, even if they are hundreds of miles apart. 

Look for a partner, not a soul mate

A 2014 study by Spike W.S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz found that thinking of your significant other as your soul mate or someone you were destined to meet would only result in future disappointment when the other person does not match up to your expectations. Rather, think of them as your partner in the journey of life, which has both ups and downs.

Having kids is not a compulsion

A study by England's Open University found that childless couples were reportedly happier than those who had kids. Have kids only if you think you can devote time to their upbringing and share the responsibilities with your partner. It is a choice, not a compulsion. 

Be kind

A study by John and Julie Gottman, which studied couples for 40 years, showed that long-lasting relationships require two essential traits: kindness and generosity. Small acts of kindness on a regular basis go a long way in building faith and trust in fragile relationships.

Share your experiences

Going for a walk, exploring new places together or dining at new restaurants can make couples more understanding of each other.

Work on positive interactions

Giving compliments or showing appreciation towards the actions of your partner and reliving a fun memory from the past can cultivate positive interactions, which will make your relationship stronger.

Share your laughter

According to a study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, couples who share laughter are more likely to be happy and satisfied with their relationship. The study claims giggling in tandem is an indicator of the relationship's well being.

Talk as much as possible

It has been observed that couples who spend five or more hours a week being and talking together, go on to have a successful relationship. 

Stay fit

According to a 10-year survey in Australia, things like being physically unfit also put pressure on a relationship. Partners with good mental and physical health contribute to happiness in a relationship.

Give up texting

According to research published by Utah-based Brigham Young University, being constantly connected through technology could create a disconnect in committed relationships. The study found usage of text messages to work out differences and make decisions can bring down the quality of a relationship

Drink like your partner

A study by the University at Buffalo in New York found that divorce rate was nearly 50 percent for couples where only one partner drank heavily. However, the couples were likely to be happier when both partners drink in equal amounts or don't drink at all.

Surround yourself with happy couples

According to a study by Brown University in Rhode Island, the divorce of a friend or close relative increases the odds of divorce in your relationship as well. Keeping company with other happy couples can help you in your own relationship.

Be sexually active

According to a 2004 study by David G. Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, couples who are sexually active are more likely to be happy than those whose sex-life is in a rut.

Limit your friendship

A study conducted by Facebook and Cornell University suggested that couples who have a lot of mutual friends are more likely to break up, while couples whose friend circles don't overlap much stay together longer.

Sleep like a baby

A study by the University of Arizona found that sound sleep and happy relationships are directly proportional. Couples with stable sleeping patterns are more likely to experience higher levels of happiness. 

Share your chores

A 2007 Pew Research Poll on relationships found that partners who share their household responsibilities are more likely to be satisfied in their relationships. 

Have similar spending habits

A survey by University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, based on 1,000 married and unmarried people, showed that couples who have different spending habits are more likely to fight over daily expenditure, thus leading to stress and tension. However, couples who have similar spending habits are likely to be happier.

Empathy plays a vital role

Try to understand your partner’s emotions and what he/she is going through. According to research conducted by Harvard Medical School, empathy goes a long way in keeping a relationship healthy. You aren’t expected to exactly know how your partner is feeling every single time but just making the effort counts.