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Secret to Happy Marriage

Sad Findings: Companion Love Isn't the Key to Marriage

We've always been told if we could turn romantic love into companion love, then marriage might just be happily ever after. But now more and more scientists agree that companion love is not the answer to a happy marriage; staying madly in love is!

A UC Santa Barbara study looked at brain scans of couples who claimed to be madly in love after 20 years of marriage and compared them to couples newly in love. Couples married for 20 years showed the same amount of neural activity minus the anxiety and obsession of new love. And early surveys show this love appears to be present in about 30 percent of married couples in the US.

While it's great news for the lucky few, what does it mean for the other 70 percent? Researchers say not to throw in the towel, but their advice makes me want to. "Go see a play," "take a class together," and "sex is always good" don't sound like the keys to everlasting love.

Essentially couples whose neural activity isn't sizzling need to generate it themselves. Scientifically it can be done through bonding — hence the share-an-experience advice — but can a bond ever be forced in reality?

Source: Flickr User adwriter

Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
No offense, but 14 years is WAY short of happily ever after. I think anything short of 25 is push that term.
doodless doodless 7 years
I can definitely count my husband and myself in with the 30% crowd. We are going on 14 years of marriage and are still as lovey dovey as the beginning. Many people say it's not possible but we are living proof that it is. We do so much together and miss each other when we are apart. Men may not express their feelings in words but one can always tell.
bryseana bryseana 7 years
I don't think a bond can be forced - you either feel it or you don't. It's probably a rarity for two people who are mutually obsessed with each other to end up together. That would be a perfect world.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 7 years
I know this is on a totally unrelated note but, how sweet is that picture? I hope I'm that in love when I'm in my 70s!
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I don't know. That initial "obsessiveness" might fade, but I always thought that was just the natural maturation of love. I don't think it's necessarily bad (unless you aren't doing anything at all together). I'd get kind of exhausted if I felt that obsessiveness for the rest of my life. It's natural at first to not be able to eat and to stay awake all night and still not feel tired the next day, but if that went on for the rest of my life I think I'd die haha
Pistil Pistil 7 years
All you need is love. "After that first magical meeting or perfect first date, a complex system in the brain is activated that is essentially the same thing that happens when a person takes cocaine." Or cocaine.
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