Study says sex and money aren’t the keys to happy marriage — this one hidden factor is

Money doesn’t buy happiness — or a successful marriage — and sex can’t guarantee one, either. In fact, the real secret to a long and prosperous relationship is one you might not expect: It’s along with your partner’s family, according to research from University of Nicosia in Cyprus.

The study, published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal, analysed which “partner traits” contribute to couples’ likelihood of staying together, and found that while “fun to be with” and “sexual satisfaction” were high-ranking, couples said that their partners’ relationships with their family were the most important. Good relationships with family and friends were also also associated with “more years in a relationship,” as was being “faithful and trustworthy.”

Ammanda Major, head of clinical practice at Relate, told The Daily Mail that these findings weren’t particularly surprising. “Liking each other’s friends and feeling at ease with them oils the personal mechanics and brings a sense of belonging,” she said. “Problems arise in any long-term relationship, however, and having supportive family around you – particularly if they don’t judge or try to enforce a solution – helps when couples are at their most vulnerable.”

The Nicosia experiment, conducted by social scientists Menelaos Apostolou and Christoforos Christoforou, queried hundreds of people about their relationships, asking which qualities were most important when it came to romantic relationships. Men said that “sexual satisfaction” and “compromise” were essential to their success, but women felt it was more important that their partner be “committed to them” in order to achieve a pleasant partnership. But of course, both sides of the aisle agree: Their partner must get along with their friends and family.

The Nicosa researchers believe this research is supported by “evolutionary theoretical framework” as well as previous studies that have shown parents and family-members maintain a “strong interest in their children’s mating decisions.” For example, if a parent does not approve of their child’s partner, they “are likely to interfere, using a large battery of manipulation tactics…to terminate the relationship.”

People are also less likely to choose their partner over their friends, as “people receive considerable emotional and material support” from their pals, and don’t want to risk losing platonic companionship.

May this serve as a reminder to call your in-laws and say hello.

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