20 science-backed tips that mummies can practice to keep their marriage alive!
After years of marriage, we get caught up in our everyday stressors and start spending less and less time as lovers in a marriage. We have work, chores and kids and almost no time for each other in between.
Or perhaps you’re a little bored with your spouse. Whatever the reason is you should make it a point to put in effort to spice things up. Here are some Science backed ways to reignite that spark.
Science has shown that new experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and behaviour and are ignited in early romantic love, a time of exhilaration and obsessive thoughts about a new partner.
If you are starting to get bored, then it's clearly time to shake things up a little by picking up new hobby together. Scuba diving, chess, scrabble, scrapbooking, joining a book club—your option list goes on.
Besides triggering the right chemical surges, the novelty of a new activity will also help you reconnect when you laugh and poke fun at each other trying to perfect a new skill.
We know, we know - with the kids, and breastfeeding and the chores and work and in laws at home, who has time or the mood for sex? We're not going to tell you about how too much rejection is damaging for the ego, especially for a guy. And how if you reject him too many times, his gaze may begin to wander off somewhere not in your favour. We know you already know all of that. Let's look at what science says.
When you have sex, and especially when you have an orgasm, your body releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin. This hormone deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another. The more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
Oxytocin is also released during childbirth to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby. It is also the reason why most breastfeeding mums automagically start leaking milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.
Have we convinced you yet? Even if you’re “not in the mood”, there are numerous ways to please your man - try a little rub and tug the next time you give him a massage and if you’re bored with the same ‘ol stuff, then it is time to whip out that Kama Sutra and find a new position.
Studies after studies have proven that men prefer women who are receptive to their humour. This boils down to evolutionary bias for choosing a mate. In a nutshell, funny people are more likely to be smart and humour is used as a proxy for intelligence. So when you laugh, you are signalling to hubby that you find him intelligent and you want to mate with him.
So while you may have heard it so many times that you can recite the joke on his behalf. Go ahead and make his day, it does not hurt to laugh - it will make him feel intelligent and wanted and ultimately he is telling jokes for a reason…to make you laugh. That on it’s own should be reason enough to put a wistful smile on your face.
According to a study done by Japanese researchers, compliments activate the same region of the brain, the striatum, as cash does, and both encourage people to perform better and feel good overall.
Keep your eyes peeled for all the great things hubby does right. “Wow, you’re looking like a stud today!”, “I never really thought of it that way before, thanks for giving me a fresh perspective”—these are all compliments that will light up his day.
A study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, tested the connection between sexual attraction and anxiety by placing men under two conditions - a high, shaky bridge and a low, sturdy bridge. After walking the bridge, the men met a female experimenter who gave the men her phone number.
Those who met the woman after walking on the high bridge had a higher likelihood to call her than the men who met her on the low bridge.
Sky diving, bungee jumping, wake boarding, going for a bike ride, taking a roller coaster — all of these unexpected adventures creates a sense of danger similar to walking on a high bridge. These activities releases adrenaline. Adrenaline comes along with low levels of the feel-secure-and-safe chemical serotonin — which fools the brain into producing feelings of arousal.
Couples that became close with another couple have greater feelings of passionate love toward their own romantic partners, compared to pairs of couples that did not interact with another couple, according to research that was presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference in Austin, Texas.
However, the study indicated that simply meeting another couple is not enough to boost passionate love. The interaction needs to involve discussing personal feelings, understanding each other and accepting each other.
Who doesn't enjoy cuddling? Cuddling provides not just sensual pleasure, but also a feeling of comfort, security and companionship, all of which are just as important to a relationship as sex.
According to educational Psychologist Dr Ludwig Lowenstein, the secret to a happy marriage could simply just boil down to giving each other four hugs every day.
A Canadian study has revealed that couples who engage in watching porn together and have a mutual agreement on what’s considered to be acceptable pornography are more likely to have a happy relationship because of their level of honesty and communication with each other.
For mummies who are a little shy, start by simply asking hubby what kind of porn he likes watching and tell him that you want to explore watching some soft-porn with him.
Sites like X-Art and Joybear.com pride themselves on being made with loving couples in mind.
Almost everyone you speak to suggests equality as the root of happy marriages, however researchers claim otherwise. It seems that married couples are more likely to have a stable relationship when either of the husband or wife asserts dominance. The study which involved indepth interviews with 340 men and women found that relationships where either partner is more dominant may be more effective than those where there is equality.
Couples where one was more dominant had more children than those where there was equality, and researchers say improved co-operation is likely to be responsible for the trend.
So introspect and figure out who should be the alpha in the relationship; hubby or you, and whatever you choose, make peace with your decision.
A survey by research house onepoll found that the happiest couples spent at least one evening a month away from their partner.
The same study, which polled 4,000 people also found that spending at least 22 periods of "quality time" together every month, such as going for a walk, breakfast in bed or sharing a romantic meal, were also key to maintaining a healthy relationship.
A group of researchers led by Purdue University Xinran Lehto, concluded that family vacations contribute positively to family bonding, communication and solidarity. Vacations promote a "shared experience" by fostering growing and enduring connections. Shared family memories and time spent together isolated from ordinary everyday activities (school, work, and so on) help to promote these positive ties.
So go for a vacation to a land that you have never set foot on before. Or just take a trip to a not-too-exotic location to take a break from the mundane daily toil.
69% of a couple’s problems are perpetual and will never go away, says John Gottman, researcher and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Yet many couples keep arguing about them year after year! According to him, "this is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values. By fighting over these differences, all they succeed in doing is wasting their time and harming their marriage."
The earlier you accept that you can't fix hubby's flaws, the faster your marriage will improve!
Studies show pretending time with a romantic partner was a first date makes it more enjoyable for you and for your partner: Why? On first dates we make an effort to impress. And we’re full of hope.
Love means being a little delusional.
Hanging out in a dimly lit room causes your pupils to dilate, which is also what happens when you are sexually aroused. Noticing your "bedroom eyes" will likely turn hubby on and the rest, we'll let you figure. *wink*
Thinking your partner is better than they really are makes for longer, better relationships. Researcher Sandra Murray has been studying romantic relationships now for several decades, and have found that idealising one’s partner is a sure recipe for marital success; moreover, the more one idealises one’s partner, the longer it is likely to last.
The way you smell and the way you find your spouse to smell can increase the desire to have sex with each other.
The human genome contains more than 1,000 olfactory genes—compared to approximately 300 genes for photoreceptors in the eyes—so pheromones have received a lot of attention from basic research scientists as well as perfume manufacturers.
If you don't like hubbies smell, buy him a new perfume or insist he wears deodorant.
According to psychologist Arthur Aron, you can make any two people fall in love by asking 36 intimate questions and staring at each others eyes for four minutes.
Staring at each others eyes generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.
Click next page to find out what the 36 questions are.
Psychologist Arthur Aron suggests that asking your partner these 36 questions will foster intimacy. The questions are broken into 3 sets.
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
Researchers found people whose spouses were supportive when things were going right believed the partners also would be helpful if things should go wrong.
The research was published in 2012 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "Just the perception that there would be support during bad times increased their emotional intimacy, trust and marital satisfaction," says Shelly Gable, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a co-author on the study.
You don't need to celebrate big wins - even acknowledging and celebrating small things like
finding lost keys, can be powerful.
Scientists at Georgia University asked 468 married people questions about their finances, communication style and how grateful they felt towards their partner.
They found that gratitude consistently predicts how happy someone will be in their marriage.
'Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.' The study also found that higher levels of saying 'thank you' protected men and women from the damage caused when arguing.
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