What’s The Secret To A Happy Marriage? Science Says The Most Successful Relationships Have 13 Things In Common

  • Being in a relationship brings an equal share of moments that are joyous and others that are difficult.
  • As the honeymoon phase inevitably comes to an end, there are many ways that you can work with your partner to keep your relationship exciting and fulfilling.
  • The most successful couples share equal responsibility for household chores, have similar financial habits, and support each other through the ups and downs.
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Romantic relationships are challenging, rewarding, confusing, and exhilarating — sometimes all at the same time.

Should you take things slowly at the beginning or dive right in? Can things stay hot in the bedroom even after years of being together? What happens when one of you wants to use a holiday bonus to invest in Bitcoin and the other wants to go on a vacation?

The answers aren’t always clear, but when it comes to marital satisfaction, science has some interesting things to offer.

According to research, the happiest couples are those who:

1. Don’t fight over text

texting working late
Don’t sub in an emoji for face-to-face. 
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock.com

What seems obvious is now backed up by science: A 2013 study out of Brigham Young University shows that couples who argue over text, apologize over text, and/or attempt to make decisions over text are less happy in their relationships.

When it comes to the big stuff, don’t let an emoji take the place of your actual face.

2. Don’t have kids

kid playing with parents
They can put a strain on relationships. 
kate_sept2004/Getty Images

Children are one of the most fulfilling parts of life. Unfortunately, they’re hell on relationships. Numerous studies, including a 2014 survey of 5,000 people in long-term relationships, show that childless couples (married or unmarried) are happiest.

This isn’t to say you can’t be happy if you have kids — it’s just to understand that it’s normal to not feel happy sometimes. Many couples put pressure on themselves to feel perfectly fulfilled once they have what they’ve always wanted (a long-term partnership with children), but the reality of kids is that they’re very stressed on relationships.

3. Have friends who stay married

friend crying
Check-in on how your friends are doing. 
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

If you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you’re also just as married as them.

According to research out of Brown University, you’re 75% more likely to get divorced if a friend or close relative has already done the deed. When it’s someone with one more degree of separation out (the friend of a friend), you’re 33% more likely to get divorced.

Researchers had this to say on the ramifications of the results: “We suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship.”

4. Fight at the beginning, then not a lot

couple man woman dating friends married talking sad beach water
Working things out at the start can be good. 

Psychologists like Herb Goldberg suggest that our model for relationship is backward — we tend to expect things to go smoothly at the beginning, and for problems (and conflicts) to arise later. In fact, Goldberg argues that couples should have “rough and ragged” beginnings where they work things out, and then look forward to a long and happy incline in the state of the relationship.

Research agrees: A Florida State study found that couples who are able to be openly angry in the beginning are happier long-term. According to lead researcher James McNulty, the “short-term discomfort of an angry but honest conversation” is healthy for the relationship over the long haul.

5. Are comprised of one first-born child and one last-born child

young couple walking
It can balance out emotional needs. 
StudioThreeDots/Getty Images

There’s an entire body of research on how your birth order impacts your life, including your relationships as well as professional success. One of the happiest pairings for couples? Someone who was the youngest child with someone who was the oldest.

Researchers hypothesize this may be because the relationship has one person who enjoys being taken care of, and one who’s used to taking care of others.

6. Know who does what when it comes to housework

cleaning chores
Make sure chores are clearly defined. 
Rawpixel/Getty Images

According to a 2013 UCLA study, couples who agree to share chores at home are more likely to be happier in their relationships. An important caveat: Couples who have clearly defined responsibilities are far more likely to be satisfied.

In other words, when you know what to do and what’s expected of you, you tend to be happier both yourself and with your spouse. This might be a good thing to sit down and discuss in the new year, especially if you’re newly cohabitating.

7. Are gay, or straight and feminist

gay couple hug
Gay couples were more happy and positive about their relationships. 
James Alcock/Getty Images

In a 2014 study of 5,000 people, researchers found that gay couples are “happier and more positive” about their relationships than their heterosexual counterparts. Straight couples made less time for each other and were less likely to share common interests and communicate well.

Straight couples are better off being feminists. Research out of Rutgers shows that both men and women with feminist partners are more satisfied in their (hetero) relationships. The name of the 2007 study? Feminism And Romance Go Hand In Hand.

8. If heterosexual, when husbands view wives as more attractive of the two

wedding present
Both partners are likely to be more satisfied. 
Hero Images/Getty Images

Levels of attractiveness within couples have long been the subject of debate (not to mention song lyrics). According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, when husbands view their wives as the more attractive of the pair, not only are they more satisfied in the relationship, but the wives are, too. The opposite was not true — when husbands thought they were better-looking, they weren’t as happy.

9. Are best friends

couple holding hands
A strong romantic relationship is first based on friendship. 
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

The National Bureau of Economic Research did a study demonstrating that marriage, on the whole, leads to increased levels of happiness (they controlled for premarital happiness).

Perhaps more telling was the finding that people who consider their spouse to be their best friend are almost twice as satisfied in their marriages as other people.

“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,” researcher John Helliwell said. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”

10. And have a lot of friends in common

friends laughing smiling
It’s good to have separate friends as well as a mutual friend group. 
Tech Hub/Flickr

In 2013, Facebook released a report that analyzed 1.3 million of its users, looking at, among other things, relationships. The conclusion? Couples with overlapping social networks tended to be less likely to break up — especially when that closeness included “social dispersion,” or the introduction of one person’s sphere to the other, and vice versa.

In other words, the best-case scenario is when each person has their own circle, but the two also overlap.

11. Spend money in similar ways

Couple money talk from shutterstock
Some couples work well having both joint and separate bank accounts. 

The two biggest things couples fight about are sex and money. When it comes to the latter, it’s well-known to psychologists as well as social scientists that for some reason, people tend to attract their spending opposite. Big spenders tend to attract thrifty people, and vice versa.

A 2009 University of Michigan study corroborated this. Researchers found that both married and unmarried people tend to select their “money opposite” — and that this causes strife in the relationship. The happiest couples tend to spend money in a similar way, whether that is saving or indulging.

12. Have sex at least once a week

couple bed
Upping sexual activity can lead to a huge boost in relationship satisfaction. 
Fat Chance Productions/Getty Images

Probably the best statistic of the bunch comes from a 2004 study, which showed that upping your sexual activity from once a month to once a week can cause happiness levels to jump by as much if you made an extra $50,000 a year.

The study, entitled “Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study” sampled 16,000 adult Americans. One of its main conclusions: “[S]exual activity enters strongly positively in happiness equations.”

13. Celebrate each other’s achievements

couple champagne balcony
A confident couple will want each other to succeed. 
David Moir/Reuters

Anyone who has been in a relationship can attest to this one, but now there’s research to confirm it: A 2009 study in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that when couples celebrate their partner’s accomplishments as if they were their own, they’re more satisfied in the relationship.

“In good times and bad” includes the good times — something it can be easy to forget. And it’s true; there’s nothing quite so satisfying as having your partner be loudly and enthusiastically in your corner when you do well.

Joy, after all, multiplies with love.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

How To Get Over A Breakup By Turning Negativity Into Positivity

Getting over your breakup just may be simpler than you thought!

When the connection you shared with someone you love ends, it’s painful. It’s not uncommon to feel extreme grief after a breakup, even if you weren’t dating or in a relationship for a long time.

But the key to learning how to get over a breakup and move on from your ex lies in turning negativity into positivity.

Breakups can be torture.

You’ve lost someone important to you, and it hurts. You had good times and big plans.

Binge-watching while snuggling. Friday night dinners with other couples. You traveled together and planned to travel more.
You planned your future home, and perhaps even marriage and kids. Your couplehood was central to your life and maybe even your identity.

You never wanted to know how to get over a breakup, but as time went on, it became clear that this relationship wasn’t suitable long term. It’s over. Ouch.

And now you wonder: How can I get over my ex?

The surprising mind shift for getting over your ex is to harness the negative for the positive. Breakups are one of the few times in life when focusing on the negative is a good thing.

That is to say, when those “highlight reels” of all the good times, all the exciting plans, and all the nostalgia creep in, they need a reality check. And that reality check is recalling all the reasons that the relationship wasn’t right for you.

Make a list of the negatives.

What is your list of all the negative aspects of the relationship? Think about all the reasons and write them down in a list.

This tangible reference about the negative aspects of your relationship will be your go-to for combating the understandable, although ill-directed, “maybe we could get back together” fantasy.

Everyone’s list will be different.

In order to trigger you to write your personal list, here are some reasons you might have had for breaking up:

  • You had different life goals or values
  • You kept fighting and couldn’t resolve your differences
  • You didn’t feel understood or that you got the emotional support you needed
  • You were incompatible (be specific as to why)
  • Your ex was abusive, mentally unstable, suffering from addiction, or any combination thereof

Choose one negative focus.

After you’ve written down your personal list about why you broke up with your ex, choose the most impactful reason.

That one main reason will be your negative focus to combat any wishful thinking about getting back together.

By focusing on why you broke up, you’ll have a tool to counterbalance any longings to return to this now-past relationship.

Breaking up takes time — it’s a period of grief.

So allow yourself to feel the emotional parts, then work on moving past them as healthy away as possible.

How long it will take to get over the breakup and move on from your ex depends on you, though.

You can’t rush the process.

Be kind to yourself during this period.

By reminding yourself why it is you broke up in the first place, you’ll be able to work through the breakup, rather than remain stuck in wishful thinking about what could be.

By focusing on the negative about life with your ex, you pave the way toward opening yourself up for a new, positive life with someone else down the line.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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