That crazy thing we call love is perhaps one of the most studied and least understood areas in psychology.
Psychological theories of love focus on such quintessential features as passion, commitment, closeness, early experiences in relationships, emotional needs, and ability to communicate.
These are, of course, important to the health of any relationship.
However, when it comes down to predicting which relationships will make it for the long haul, the questions become almost equally pragmatic as romantic.
Earlier research by psychologist Arthur Aron, who collaborated in this study, suggested that the people who are most intensely in love are the ones who feel a strong romantic attraction, but who also enjoy engaging in “self-expanding” joint activities that are novel and challenging.
The unhappy couples would have divorced and therefore not qualified for the research.
On top of that, the couples obviously agreed to be in the study, so it’s possible that the unhappiest ones simply didn’t want to confront the questions about their marriages—although it’s also possible that the unhappy ones would have welcomed the opportunity to complain about their spouses.
A whopping 40 percent of those married 10 years or more stated that they were “Very intensely in love”—the highest rating on the scale.
Another 15 percent gave their marriages the second-highest rating on the love intensity scale.
Close relationships are the centerpiece of our sense of identity and are fundamental to our feelings of fulfillment.
They can even benefit our health, The relationship conflict that can ensue can also affect your health, as we know from research on marital problems and obesity. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(2), 241-249.
A few caveats about the study might have already come to your mind.