SALT LAKE CITY — Candy hearts galore, long lines at the florist, crowded restaurants and a dramatic spike in chocolate sales can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day is here again.
While love may be in the air, most couples would admit that relationships aren’t always rainbows and roses. In fact, keeping a marriage together can be downright exhausting, especially since there’s no “how-to” manual distributed after the “I dos.”
Until now, that is.
A team of scientists at Happify, a website devoted to the science behind true happiness, set out to discover the elusive secret to a happy, healthy relationship. They poured through the results of numerous studies from around the globe, sorted through their findings and created an eye-popping infographic just in time for Cupid’s big day.
We’re talking a one-stop shop for those looking to understand what keeps the world’s happiest couples ticking. While it doesn’t come in the form of a little blue box, it may do more for some couples than a tennis bracelet ever could.
So what factors play into the science of a happy relationship? Much of the answer can be found in the way couples interact. The happiest couples have five positive interactions to every negative one, while couples who ultimately divorce had less than one happy interaction to every eight fights, according to Happify.
In fact, positive interactions are so important in relationships that researchers suggest couples do something every single day facilitate them. It can be as simple as a compliment, a kind act or show of appreciation. The important thing is that each partner is consciously making an effort to make their significant other feel appreciated.
Speaking of appreciation, one study revealed that spouses who reacted to their partner’s good news with enthusiasm, inquiry and congratulations three times a day for one week reported feeling happier and less depressed.
The gift of gab is a valuable one when it comes to successful marriages. Happy husbands and wives spend about five more hours a week talking and spending time together than their unsatisfied counterparts, the infographic revealed.
A happy marriage is worth an extra $105,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. -Happify
What keeps passion and romance alive? Not surprisingly, the quality of friendship in a marriage, according to 70 percent of happy couples surveyed. Additionally, couples who frequently experience new things and places together report feeling more loving, supportive and satisfied.
There appears to be something to the concept of the "honeymoon stage." Couples reported being happiest with their marriage when they'd been married five years or less, had no children, had college degrees and included an employed husband, according to a 20-year British study.
One of the most motivating statistics: a happy marriage is worth an extra $105,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. A worthwhile investment indeed.
Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.