Everyone dreams of a happily ever after, but achieving marital bliss takes plenty of effort. You're making a lifelong commitment which requires unconditional love, sacrifice and of course, a whole lot of patience.
So what's the secret to staying happy "until death do us apart?"
I hate to break it to you but marriage isn't perfect and there is no magic formula to maintaining a happy union, but if you feel like your relationship is going through a rut there might be a new way to reintroduce some spark back into it.
Past studies on this topic claim that sex and maintaining positivity are key to a happy and successful marriage. However, the latest study by experts at Florida State University in Tallahassee, showed very different results.
Turns out, married couples could boost their happiness levels through "evaluative conditioning" ("change in liking, which occurs due to an association with a positive or negative stimulus") can be achieved by looking at images of cute animals.
"One ultimate source of our feelings about our relationships can be reduced to how we associate our partners with positive affect, and those associations can come from our partners but also from unrelated things, like puppies and bunnies," explained lead researcher, James K. McNulty.
If you're skeptical about this claim, you're not alone. McNulty initially felt the same way but his study's results are very reliable.
"I was actually a little surprised that it worked," admits McNulty. "All the theory I reviewed on evaluative conditioning suggested it should, but existing theories of relationships, and just the idea that something so simple and unrelated to marriage could affect how people feel about their marriage, made me skeptical."
Click on the next page to find out how the experts came to this conclusion and see photos of some adorable animals and conduct your own experiment with your partner.
McNulty and his team studied a cohort of 144 couples aged 40 or under that have been married under 5 years. Every 3 days for 6 weeks, some of the spouses were exposed to a series of images of their partners alongside positive stimuli, such as images puppies and bunnies, while others were shown their partner's faces with neutral stimuli.
The attitudes and marital satisfaction of the spouses in both groups were measured throughout the 8-week study and the results showed that one group definitely appeared to be happier than the other.
If you'd like to boost satisfaction and happiness in your relationship, take a look at these cute animals below:
[H/T: Medical News Today]