10 Small Gestures Scientifically Proven To Strengthen Your Relationship
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may have an added incentive to make your partner feel special. And why wouldn’t you? You love them and doing something nice can be inexpensive and doesn't take much effort. Hell, most things won’t cost you anything at all!
Sometimes it’s the littlest things that have the greatest impact. And when it comes to your relationship, this same sentiment applies. So if you’re low on cash but want to do a little something nice for the one you love, I’ve looked into the research regarding how this can be done with as little effort as possible (because, yes, you love them, but you don’t want to make a six-course dinner, either).
As you’ll find, most of the gestures below (all of which are backed by science) are primarily appreciated because they solidify the fact that you love and are grateful for your partner, which is further reason and incentive to do at least some of the following things.
Take take a look below at the results of many studies that tell us which small gesture are most effective.
1. Brew Them A Cup Of Coffee
Seriously, it’s as easy as that. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great studied 373 couples over 28 years to discover that small acts of kindness — like brewing them a cup of coffee or stopping by their office with lunch — further strengthens an already strong relationship. By doing small tasks such as these, you help your partner feel appreciated. And who wouldn’t want that?
2. Do Something New Together
Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples who try new things together have a better quality relationship than those who stick to the same old. While these activities don’t have to be drastic — skydiving? No thanks — the only thing that matters is that the experience is new to the both of you. So try interesting, like making sushi together. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?
3. Say Thanks
Gratitude is understandably one of the most important traits in a strong relationship. By expressing gratitude with something as simple as a “thank you,” research from Florida State University discovered that both partners will ultimately be more willing to do the necessary work required to maintain strength in their relationship.
4. Do A Double Date
Research from Stony Brook University had 150 couples meet each other and either spend 45 minutes worth of small talk, or spend 45 minutes asking personal questions. Results found that couples who chatted about personal topics felt more in love with each other than those who engaged in small talk. Since every couple has another favorite couple to hang out with, do yourselves a favor and do dinner and drinks with them. It’ll be good for all four of you!
5. Validate Their Victories
Did your partner receive a compliment at work from a superior? You should give a shit. Researchers from UCLA found that an enthusiastic response to a partner’s good news is a predictor of future relationship commitment, satisfaction, and love. Which is an appealing trifecta. The opposite reaction — minimizing or belittling said news — is evidence of bad things to come in a relationship. By celebrating good news with your partner, researchers concluded that it makes them feel both validated and understood.
6. Tweet Less
Get off your damn phone! Data from over 800,000 OkCupid users revealed that people who admitted they tweet a lot had shorter relationships than those who don’t. Also worth noting: Tweeters were also found to masturbate more, presumably because their partner doesn’t want to have sex with them.
7. Kiss More
Lots of kissing equals higher relationship satisfaction, a study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found. Researchers from the University of Oxford surveyed over 900 adults, asking questions about kissing frequency, attitudes toward kissing, and relationship satisfaction. Results concluded lots of “good” kissing was the greatest testament to a good partnership. Go figure!
8. Watch A Rom-Com Together
Who knew a chick flick could benefit a relationship? A 3-year study from the University of Rochester found that divorce rates were sliced in half when couples watched movies about relationships and discussed the film afterwards.
9. Share The Chores
Mom loved when you did them and so does your partner: chores. In a small study from UCLA, researchers tracked the lives of several relationships over four years. What they found was couples who evenly disperse chores get along much better than those who don’t. If they cook, you do the dishes, and so on.
10. Argue In Person
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But arguing in person proves to be more effective than through text. A study from 2013 found that couples who fight over text have a lower relationship quality, meaning textual apologies and so on have much less impact than they do in person. This makes sense, since we’re all familiar with how things can get misinterpreted through text.
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