Friday, January 6, 2023

The Love Equation: A Blog by Warren Bull

Image from Karen Warfal on Pixabay

The Love Equation: A blog by Warren Bull

Scientists have been trying to find out empirically what makes relationships work for many years.

For more information see:

Researchers in the article referenced above have observed 3,000 couples, following some as long as 30 years. 

They suggest that couples that stay together happily have a ratio of at least 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction during times of conflict.  When there are no conflicts, happiness is found when the ratio is 20:1. The experimenters noted that the power of single negative interactions like blaming exceeds the power of single positive interactions. That is a consistent finding.

Very happy couples are kinder and gentler than less happy couples.  Very happy couples refrain from criticism, contempt, and sarcasm. People in happy relationships admire their partners and express their admiration.

For additional information see: 

Other researchers who have put their finding to use in their own marriage report the following behaviors have helped them.

They suggest turning toward a partner and attempting reach out using:

  • Eye contact
  • A smile
  • A sigh
  • A direct request for your help or attention
  • Saying “good morning” or “good night”
  • Asking for a favor
  • Reading something aloud to you: “Hey, listen to this...”
  • Pointing something out: “Look at that!”
  • Calling your partner’s name from another room
  • Noticing when your partner seems sad or down
  • Noticing when your partner is physically carrying something heavy by themselves
  • Seeing when your partner seems frustrated

These authors encourage persistence in explaining, and trying to get to the root of any issues.

They say there are times, like you, your partner will be distracted, and/or tired.  They suggest not reacting when, like you, you will not get a response. If your partner does not respond over time, ask about it.

I remember years ago reading research that observed one sign of a happy marriage is that partners kiss before going off to work. I remember, Sleeping Beauty aside, and Cher’s Shoop Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in his kiss) song thinking that there was nothing magical about the kiss. The “magic” was in keeping a relationship in which both partners want to kiss each other before leaving for work every morning.


  1. My husband and I just celebrated our 39th anniversary, and I can still benefit from reading this! Thanks for the reminders.

  2. I think the "Shoop shoop song" was almost 30 years old by the time Cher covered it. My husband & I remembered it from the '60s. A long-time, relevant favorite!