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The key to enduring love revealed

Published on 14 January 2014 03:00 PM

It's the little things that help make love last, with cuddles and even making a cup of tea topping a list of activities that help keep couples together.

Even making sure to say 'thank you' as a simple token of gratitude for everyday mundane tasks can make a difference, alongside grander gestures such as giving surprise presents.


The findings come from a new study from Open University, in which researchers spoke to 5,000 people about keeping their relationships on track.

Bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates were seen as less valuable than small acts of kindness, according to the Enduring Love? project.

The study adds that sharing the nitty-gritty of everyday household chores as well as family responsibility can kindle a deeper appreciation of partners. Time and energy devoted to cooking ranked particularly highly for participants.

But a simple 'I love you' can work wonders, according to the study, which characterised this as a symbol of ongoing closeness among couples.

'Actions speak louder than words'

Report co-author Jacqui Gabb said: '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, or watching TV together.'

Among those over 55, women scored lowest on relationship satisfaction, while men were 3 times more likely than women to say that sexual intimacy was something that makes them feel appreciated.

Shared tastes, values and beliefs are also likely to help form bonds, and a good sense of humour or the ability to make a partner laugh helped heighten the pleasures of a relationship. It seems obvious to say it, but bad habits are bad for relationships.

Many lesbian, gay and bisexual couples said they are still scared to show affection in public for fear of being attacked, but were found to be happier with the quality of their relationship and were more likely to act spontaneously. Money causes its fair share of problems, the study shows, but big issues like being out of work also tend to pull couples closer together. And out of all age groups, mothers were the happiest.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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