Love, as people say, is something complex and difficult to understand. Many people try to analyze and give meaning to it. There are also many clichés about love that even makes it more complicated. It is something that is felt almost by everyone but is difficult to explain. So how does psychology explain love?
Here are 10 important psychological studies about love that every couple should know:
1. It takes less than a second to fall in love: one-fifth of a second, actually!
Lovers would usually say, “We fell in love in a heartbeat”, or “We fell in love when we touched hands”. While this may seem clichéd and may seem like something that only happens in movies, brain imaging studies have proven that 12 areas in the brain are involved, and it takes one-fifth of a second for the euphoria inducing chemicals to start acting on the brain! In fact, our brain gets that similar “hit” from love just like when a person takes cocaine.
2. There is a connection between love and sexual desire in the brain.
A study revealed that while there are differences between love and sexual desire, there is a common set of brain areas that are activated both by love and sexual desire. It suggests that sexual desire is more than just a basic emotion. Sexual desire also involves goal directed motivation and building more advanced thoughts.
3. Kissing is important in choosing and keeping your partner.
Do you remember when you first kissed your partner? Your first kiss with someone can help you decide and choose whether that person is for keeps.
Two studies have revealed that kissing helps us choose our partners and also helps us keep our partners. When the relationship is still new, kissing could be a way of assessing a potential partner’s genes. In addition, researchers also found a correlation between the amount of kissing long-term partners did and how it affects the quality of their relationship. So if you want to know if your partner is for keeps or if you want to be with your partner long-term, give them a kiss!
4. Couples who have been together for 25 years become to look similar.
Wonder why old couple look very much alike after years of being together? A study revealed that couples who have been together for 25 years develop to have similar facial features. This maybe because the couple have shared the same diet and environment, they have developed a similar personality or a result of empathizing with one’s partner over the years.
5. Long distance relationships can work.
People often say that long distance relationships never work, however, a new research proves that to be wrong. There are two factors that can keep a long distance relationship alive: telling intimate details to each other and creating a more idealized view of your partner. This will result to having similar levels of relationship satisfaction and stability like the couples who are geographically close to each other.
6. There are 4 things lovers do that can definitely end their relationship.
Dr. John Gottman have studied couples for over forty years and found that there are four things lovers do that can predict the end of their relationship. Constant corrosive criticism, contempt, being overly defensive and stonewalling: if you and your partner do these in your relationship, chances are, you are heading for a separation.
7. Modern marriages demand psychological fulfillment.
A new research revealed that modern married couples want psychological fulfillment from their marriages.
In the recent years, couples expect marriage to become a journey to self-fulfillment and self-actualization. Eli Finkel, author of the said research, advises couples to invest sufficient time and energy in the marriage.
In general, if you want your marriage to help you achieve self-expression and personal growth, it’s crucial to invest sufficient time and energy in the marriage. If you know that the time and energy aren’t available, then it makes sense to adjust your expectations accordingly to minimize disappointment.
8. Watching movies about relationships and discussing them can help save a marriage.
If you think your relationship is heading for the dumps, try watching movies about relationships and discuss them with your partner.
A three-year study revealed that divorce rates were decreased in half by watching movies about relationships and discussing them with their partner.
The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships. Thus, you might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years–that is awesome.
9. A couple’s relationship doesn’t end after divorce.
Couples’ relationships do not end after a divorce, specially when they have kids. A study of co-parenting after divorce reveals that a couple’s relationship can result in them either becoming best friends, or cooperative parents who remain on a good footing with each other. This is if they have not become an angry couple, a couple that uses their children as pawns in the fight or if one of the couple has already abandoned the family.
10. Little acts of kindness can make a big difference in your marriage.
Giving your partner a cup of coffee, massaging their foot or paying the bills may seem insignificant to a relationship, but a recent survey revealed that these simple acts of kindness are often appreciated the most. So if you want to please your partner, do a little act of kindness now!
While these studies can help us understand our relationship with our partner better, it is still best to follow your heart when it comes to love!