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Dating & Relationships

What is the recipe for a perfect marriage?

"Whatever your preference, the key to a happy marriage appears to be time."



Bride and groom playing with wedding rings

By Emma Elsworthy via SWNS

The recipe for a perfect marriage includes six meaningful conversations, three long walks – and two barn-storming rows every month, according to research.

A study of 2,000 UK happily wedded adults also shows they benefit from taking a short break away together twice a year, as well as two longer vacations.

And it pays to be affectionate, as the most contented couples reckon they have sex five times a week, and say “I love you” up to 20 times a fortnight.

They also kiss two or three times a day, and cuddle 11 times every week.

The Warner Leisure Hotels study also revealed the top 50 elements that are key to a happy marriage – including pursuing your own hobbies and interests, allowing your other half to see you at your worst, and being silly with each other.


Couples also place importance on listening to each other grumble about work, showing the other how proud you are of them, and being respectful in front of others.

Simon Thompson, managing director of the adult-only hotel group, which commissioned the research, said: “We weren’t surprised to see that taking short breaks is one of the secret ingredients to a happy marriage.

“Many couples who visit us say they feel closer after a romantic weekend relaxing and unwinding together – and it certainly helps that neither have to do the chores.

“This quality time spent enjoying shared interests seems to be a winning formula for a lasting marriage, along with placing value on time apart pursuing individual hobbies.

“However, as this survey clearly shows, it takes a good mix of humor, affection, understanding and interest to keep a relationship exciting.”

Other tips shared by those deeply happy in wedlock include forgiving bad habits, not going to sleep on an argument, and turning a blind eye when the other is being moody or annoying.

While many swear by trying new things together, going on weekends away, and surprising the other half with unexpected gifts.

Some of the more comfortable couples believe the key to their success is down to picking their battles, not being offended if the other uses the loo in front of them – and always taking their partner’s side, regardless of whether they are right or not.

A fair distribution of the household chores paves the way for a successful union, as does being able to laugh with each other after an argument.

Researchers also found 63 percent of married adults place a lot of importance on their other half behaving romantically – with one in five impressed with the larger gestures like booking a trip away.

More than seven in ten agree that spending time away together without any distractions can add excitement to any relationship – and remind them why they love each other so much.

However, over a third (36 percent) are also content with the smaller acts of kindness, such as dinner out every now and then.

And almost four in ten of those polled, via OnePoll, consider everyday gestures such as putting the bins out as romantic.\


Simon Thompson, for Warner Leisure Hotels, added: “The definition of romance differs from person to person.

“Some are content with tiny little gestures on a regular basis, and others want the full hearts and flowers approach to love.

“Whatever your preference, the key to a happy marriage appears to be time – time with each other, time apart, time to forgive, time to laugh, and time to understand.”


1. Spending quality time together
2. Looking after them when they're sick
3. Feeling you can be completely yourself
4. Letting them pursue their own hobbies and interests
5. Seeing each other at your worst and best
6. Having regular cuddles
7. Being respectful to them in front of others
8. Making regular plans together
9. Being proud of their achievements
10. Being silly with each other
11. Exploring new places together
12. Sharing the same sense of humour
13. Trying new things together
14. Always remembering important occasions
15. Not making decisions for each other without checking in first
16. Having a fair distribution of household chores
17. Showing an interest even when they’re talking about something you don’t understand
18. Forgiving their bad habits
19. Doing things they want to do, even if you don’t enjoy it
20. Saying ‘I love you’ every day
21. Saying 'good morning' and 'good night' each day
22. Listening to the other grumble about work
23. Going on weekends away together
24. Always making them a hot drink when you make one
25. Not going to sleep on an argument
26. Turning a blind eye when the other is grumpy
27. Being prepared to watch TV shows you don't like
28. Being nice to their family / get on with the in-laws
29. Having a good routine
30. Being forgiving if they admit to bumping the car or shrinking your favorite t-shirt
31. Going to some length to make one another laugh
32. Being able to laugh about arguments afterward
33. Watching a TV series together and trusting the other one not to watch an episode alone
34. Noting when they talk about something they are interested in or want and treat them with it later
35. Make an effort with their friends
36. Accepting that sometimes you get a better night’s sleep apart
37. Picking your battles
38. Having weird in-jokes
39. Surprising them with gifts
40. Always praising them to other people
41. Being prepared to share your meal when eating out
42. Saying they still look beautiful when they're looking their worst
43. Being comfortable with going to the toilet in front of each other
44. Buying an extra snack or drink even though they said they didn't want it (because you know they will want one when they see yours)
45. Passing wind in front of each other without being grossed out
46. Leaving nice messages for one another
47. One of you being a voice of reason
48. Regularly delivering tea or coffee in bed
49. Playfully insulting each other relentlessly
50. Always taking one another's side even if they’re not right

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