The scientific approach to long-term love

With Valentine's Day coming up, I’m left wondering: What is the science of long-term love? How can you keep the charisma and love alive?

Research shows that at the top of the list is physical affection. Even if a marriage is facing struggles like financial difficulties or parenting challenges, if physical affection is high, the couple is likely to remain in love.

Hug your partner daily, Emma Seppälä recommends - she is the science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and the author of The Happiness Track

“Some studies even suggest we need at least 7 hugs a day, “ she says.

What's one thing a couple can do to keep romance alive?

“Research shows that couple who do fun, new and challenging things together remain in love over the long-term. Some ideas are reading together, exercising, cooking, attending church or traveling together. Remember that relationships are first and foremost shared adventures.”

What's a way to counter losing the spark in your relationship?

“Focus on the things your partner does that you deeply appreciate! Research shows that when people spend more time thinking about the positive sides of their partner (rather than their dirty socks lying on the floor or their habits of leaving the cupboards open), the relationship becomes much more fulfilling.

What does your science say about making your partner happy?

“Of course you want your partner to be happy, but research shows that if you focus on being happy yourself, your relationship will thrive! You may think that taking a night out with friends, meditating or heading to your book club is selfish because you are doing it for you, but research shows that, when you are happier, so is your partner.”

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