Tools for Couples Happiness — 05 February 2012
Staying in love is very possible

The high divorce rates, unfaithfulness, unhappy marriages and “just staying together for the kids” are frequently recited marital states that are deeply discouraging. Being in love for life is often presumed to be a fantasy. Yet, many more couples than expected are intensely in love with each other throughout their lifetime.

In a recent study, Psychologist, K. Daniel O’Leary, reported encouraging findings about the state of marital bliss. He found that in the first decade of their marriage, 49 percent of men and 46.3 percent of women reported being “very intensely in love” with their spouse. 13.4 percent said they were “intensely in love,” and an additional 26.2 percent reported being “very in love” with their mate. Though these numbers declined in the second decade of marriage, they recovered in the third decade. 40 percent of women and 35 percent of men reported being “very intensely in love” after 30 plus years of marriage.

In summary, of the couples married ten years or more, 74 percent reported that they were “very in love,” “intensely in love,” or “very intensely in love.”

O’Leary conceded that perhaps some of these results were exaggerated or self promoting, but concluded that even adjusting for these factors, statistical analysis would only render minor changes.

In a follow-up survey, the researchers found that the two dominant predictors of intense love were: “Thinking about the partner in a positive way,” and “How often they thought about the partner when not together.” Additional strong factors that contributed to feeling intense love included: physical affection, e.g., hugging, kissing and love making; doing fun things together; and, general life happiness.

It is refreshing to know that maintaining being in love for life is more common than expected and doable with a few practical tools. My regular readers know my position about the importance of creating the love you crave and deserve to have.

Additional guidelines are needed to provide easy ways to keep your heart and mind positively inclined toward your partner including actions that demonstrate your partner’s primacy in your life.

Being a loving mate is not only a recipe for a lifelong happy union, it is also a formula for moral, decent and healthy personal existence.

Thinking about your partner as a precious being who loves you and yet may not always act in a way that pleases you fosters acceptance, compassion and unconditional love.

Making your beloved the primary concern and consideration in your daily life and decisions not only makes you a more caring person but also infuses your marriage with positive energy.

To preserve being in love for life:

  • Think positively about your spouse, even when he/she errs.
  • Consider your mate’s needs and accommodate them gracefully.
  • Express verbal and physical affection daily.
  • Be an active sexual partner.
  • Share enjoyable mutual activities on a regular basis.
  • Maintain a happy disposition and be grateful for your blessings.


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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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