Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The math of a happy marriage

The eternal question: What makes a marriage last?

Now, thanks to a survey of 3,000 Brits, there's not just a pat schmaltzy answer, but a by-the-numbers recipe.

You need to say "I love you" daily, share two hobbies, and have sex three times a week.

And that's not all. You're supposed to communicate – phone, text or email – three times a day during work hours, enjoy two romantic meals a month and exchange four kisses and three cuddles daily.

In other words, you have to work at it.

Researchers interviewed people who had been happily married for 10 years or longer about their opinions and experiences. The survey was done for, a wedding website.

"People here are most surprised by the need for daily kisses and cuddles. Everyone seems amazed by that," says Confetti spokesperson Carol Richardson.

Brits need to relax that stiff upper lip? They're not smooching and snuggling enough?

"That's probably the case," says Richardson. "It's free, easy and we all should be doing it."

Researchers determined that the ideal couple in a good marriage likely met through friends and dated for three-and-a-half years before getting married. At the wedding, the groom was 31 and the bride was 29.

They waited two years and two months to have kids.

Somehow they manage to get away together three times a year for holidays and they spend three nights a week nestled together on the couch watching television. Presumably, to save time, this could be the same three nights a week they have sex.

But it's not all kissy-face. The ideal formula includes two separate outings a month – girls' nights and boys' nights.

"You need time apart to pursue your interests," says Richardson, "and bring something fresh back to the relationship."

by Nancy J. White

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