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November 5, 2015

The Science of Happy Relationships

The secret to a happy marriage isn't really a secret. Scientists have spent decades studying every aspect of intimate relationships, and we now know a lot about what makes the difference between long-term bliss or ultimate divorce.

For example, we know that couples who end up divorced have more negative interactions than positive ones. This isn't surprising. What may be surprising is the "magic ratio" of positive to negative that exists among the happiest couples. Balance isn't obtained by counteracting every negative with a positive. Instead, Dr. John Gottman's research has discovered that at least five positive interactions are needed for every negative one if a couple is going to maintain a stable relationship.

Another interesting finding has to do with children. Most married couples look forward to the birth of a child with excitement. They picture a rosy future in which they are united in enjoying their happy little family. However, despite the joys of parenthood, a majority of couples suffer decreased marital satisfaction after the arrival of a baby. Not only is marital conflict hard on the adults, it's also bad for the children who live with it. Fortunately, studies of the happier minority have shown that it is possible for couples to learn communication techniques that will reverse the negative trend.

For even more facts about the science of relationships, the experts at Happify have put together a helpful infographic.

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