• Unraveling the secret of romance

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    ALICE BUSTOS-OROSA

    ALICE BUSTOS-OROSA

    Talk about relationships and romance for Valentine’s Day abound on print and online media these days. There was one post though from lifehacker.com and happify.com aptly entitled “The Science Behind a Happy Relationship,” which caught my fancy.

    The infographic outlined every significant scientific finding in Positive Psychology related to happy relationships and successful marriages. In some ways, the science of romance was decon–structed. And so, for this Valentine, here are some of the most curious research facts about love and relationships along with some suggestions you might consider for the Day of the Hearts.

    For starters, scientists have found that the quality of friendship between couples and the amount of time which couples spend talking with each other determine successful marriages. Research says that happy couples spend five more hours a week in conversation. Do random dates count? Fortunately, they do and these are probably the most frequent talk-time my hubby Mike and I manage in a busy week. If you haven’t had time to catch up on each other’s lives, find time this Valentine for a breakfast or brunch date maybe.

    The other research finding I love most is the need to share an experience together. Research says that couples that have shared adventures together have lasting relationships. Go on an adventure, travel and make memories as a couple. Why not wakeboarding, surfing, or paragliding for the brave-hearted, or a walking tour or a concert for the faint-hearted?

    Heeding the latter, my other half has decided that we’ll be spending the pre-Valentine evening in a Jack Jones’ concert. “Couldn’t it be any more romantic than listening to ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Lollipops and Roses’?” my sisters have been teasing me. “Yes, of course, that is if you’re in your 70s,” I retorted back with a smile. But given my hubby’s penchant for standards and old-fashioned crooners, this Valentine date might just turn out to be one for the books. One we’ll look back to and crack up when we say, “Remember the time we watched Jack Jones!” Luckily, studies say that couples who recall a moment that involve “shared laughter” felt most satisfied with their relationships.

    Here’s another tip—have a spa day together. A spa ad on TV claims that the aim of a couples’ spa indulgence is to draw out each partner’s chakhra so that they become more open to each other. I was thinking though, does chakhra let you both snore in the midst of the aromatherapy and soothing hand strokes? If that’s chakhra, so be it!

    As most couples know, romance ultimately means intimacy. And as research tells, more physically intimate couples are much happier. Do make sure though that you keep intimacy in the bedroom and not at the spa! Finding time to be intimate while your kids are around can be comedic at times, as our own would pretend to gag when their parents cozy up.

    Research also says that couples need to cultivate positive interactions every day. How a partner is sincerely enthusiastic and interested in the other’s triumphs and accomplishments is critical in happy marriages. As scientists also point out, couples in the happiest relationships bring out the best in each other and help each one get closest to their “ideal selves.” So, go and celebrate little things that mark career promotions, recognition and almost any feat accomplished! Post your spouse’s photos of crossing the marathon’s finish line, or getting that service award at work, and be the first cheerleader.

    The science behind romance and happiness seems so com–monsense yet, so complicated for some. And if you’re in a truly happy and lasting relationship, keep and cherish it and don’t let it go. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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