The Simplest Way To Improve Your Relationship

It increases relationship satisfaction and marriage solidity.

It increases relationship satisfaction and marriage solidity.

One of the simplest ways to improve your relationship is to enjoy more hugs and cuddles, research finds.

Couples who experience higher levels of non-sexual touch are more satisfied with their relationships.

Men, in particular, felt more satisfied with their relationships when they were shown more routine affection.

For women, affection through touch was still important, but low levels were linked to relationship dissatisfaction.

Ms Samantha Wagner, the study’s first author, said:

“There’s something specific about touch satisfaction that interplays with relationship satisfaction but not dissatisfaction for wives.”

The study included 184 couples who were interviewed about their relationship and how much affection they routinely showed towards each other.

The results revealed that more affection was linked to better relationships.

On top of this, couple’s satisfaction with non-sexual touch was also linked to having a more solid marriage.

Ms Wagner said:

“Interestingly, there’s some evidence that holding your partner’s hand while you’re arguing de-escalates the argument and makes it more productive.”

However, Ms Wagner warned that not everyone appreciates being touched.

Touch can mean different things to different people and in the wrong context can constitute abuse.

People with autism, for example, can find touch overwhelming.

Still, most people find touch comforting, especially in times of stress, said Ms Wagner:

“Feel free to give some extra snugs on the couch.

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests touch as a way to decrease stress.”

The pandemic has meant that many people cannot be as close to their loved ones as they would wish.

Healthcare workers, for example, may be quarantining themselves from their families.

Ms Wagner said:

“I think we should all hold the loved ones we can a little closer and be thoughtful of the struggles that others might be having because they can’t do just that.

If anything is true for me, a hug has become even more precious than it was before.”

The study was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (Wagner et al., 2020).


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Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.