Are there any secrets of lasting love? Many of us seek to find someone to love and stay with for the rest of our lives. Daniel O’Leary and colleagues at Stony Brook University reveals something very interesting. They found that many couples in America still are “intensely in love”; even after being married for many years.
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274 couples, married for ten years or more, received the question about the state of their love life. The question was “how in love are you with your partner?” The answers were on a scale from 1 (“not at all in love”) to 7, (“very intensely in love”). To the researchers’ amazement, the most repeated answer was “very intensely in love” for both men and women. 49% of the men and 46% of the women reported they were being “very intensely in love.” These facts are found in the report from Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science.
So what did these couples reveal about their secrets of lasting love? How does a couple keep the spark through the decades? Once again, to researchers’ surprise, physical affection (such as hugs and kisses) topped the list. The reason is unknown, but researchers believe it is because of the so called “cuddle hormone” called oxytocin. This hormone flows through our bodies when we receive hugs, kisses or have sexual intimacy. Oxytocin makes us feel closer than before to the one we are intimate with. Hence, it affects our physical and mental health in a positive way.
Interestingly, there was a correlation between lack of physical affection and unhappiness. Couples in the study who claimed their relationship was rather unhappy also reported that there was no physical affection in between them.
The research also reveals that regular sexual intimacy was an important ingredient relating to the intensity of love. It was important, but not exclusively important. The report showed that about 25% of those who indicated “very intensely in love” hadn’t had any sex in the last one month.
Further, the study presents that positive thinking about one’s partner is another important ingredient. Hence, it is crucial to not take one another for granted. Instead, a couple should focus on what they appreciate about one another and not focus on weaknesses and flaws.
The loving couples also had common activities and experiences together. They did things like cooking, learning a new sport together, attending church together or travel together. These experiences made the love deepen in between them.
The last thing revealed was that taking responsibility for one’s own happiness can radically improve the quality of the relationship, Hence, if one partner enjoys going to the gym and the other likes to hang out with friends, and it brings them happiness, it will affect the relationship in a positive direction.
The common denominators in majority of the couples that claimed they were “very intensely in love” are:
Physical affection (hugs and kisses). Consistent sexual intimacy (not exclusively). Positive thoughts about one’s partner. Shared experiences. Taking responsibility for one’s own happiness.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Lasting love has nothing to with wealth, education and outward appearance. You can loose your money, your education can loose its value and looks do change as we mature in age. What is more important is that bonding, companionship and love that we build throughout life. We wish you a happy and lasting love life!