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Secrets of a happy marriage? Sleeping naked, spending time apart and arguing


coupleinloveAfter a study claimed couples who went to bed starkers are more likely to stay together, we look at other 'magic formulas' for a lasting relationship

They say the couple who play together, stay together but now researchers say the best way to keep a happy marriage is to sleep in the nude.

A recent study of more than 1,000 Britons found 57% of those who go to bed starkers said they were happy in their relationship compared to 48% who wore pyjamas.

“Bedding can feel extremely soft against the skin, encouraging openness and intimacy between couples and ultimately increasing happiness,” says Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, who worked on the poll.

And they’re not the only ones who think they have the recipe for lasting and happy marriage. From separate beds and bathrooms to arguing and sex, everyone has their own theory...

 Double dating

It seems double dating could equal double the happiness after scientists found the key to a long and happy marriage is having another couple to share it with.

It certainly worked for the Goods and Leadbetters in 70s TV hit The Good Life, starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.

Psychologists at the University of Maryland, in the US, found double dating helps couples interact and even learn more about themselves. Study chief Professor Geoffrey Greif said: “Couples with couple friends seem to have happier relationships and longer and happier marriages.”

But double dating does have its perils. Professor Greif added: “We interviewed a few people where couple friends ended up having an affair.”

Separate bathrooms

The 81-year-old says: “There are rules for living with Joan Collins, but I’m sure there are rules for living with anyone. We’re never in the bathroom together. In fact, I think it’s important to have separate bathrooms."

And she also advises couples not to interfere with each other’s lives. On fifth husband Percy Gibson, she says: “He never interferes with my social calendar. I never interfere with his financial work. I occasionally give him advice on how he looks, but he’s the least vain man I’ve ever known.”

Liking their smell

Actress Goldie Hawn, 68, has been with her partner Kurt Russell, 63, for almost three decades but she isn’t one for magic formulas and thinks a happy relationship simply comes down to your nose.

She explains: “There’s a trick. You have to like the way each other smell. I think it’s that the pheromones haven’t gone away. The chemicals are still popping.”

And she adds: “You don’t always agree with your mate. You don’t even like them sometimes. But there is something there that sparks you. You have to focus on that as you move on.”

Separate beds

What with duvet hogging and snoring, it’s no surprise sleeping in separate beds is key to a good night’s sleep but it could also work wonders on your marriage.

Dr Neil Stanley, who runs a sleep laboratory at the University of Surrey, says: “We’ve been sold a myth that we have to share a bed or else our marriage is doomed. But people who are more tired are more miserable and have a higher rate of divorce.”

Movie director Tim Burton and his actress wife Helena Bonham Carter are among the one in ten British couples who don’t sleep in the same bed. The famous couple even live in separate adjoining houses because Burton is said to snore.

Spend time apart

Best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert says we should take a leaf out the Hmong tribe if we want a happy marriage.

The Vietnamese women laughed when Elizabeth, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, asked them how much ‘couple time’ they spend with their husbands as part of research for her book, Committed.

So it seems love doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment with your spouse.


Seventy years of squabbling might sound like the opposite of wedded bliss but Floss Lucas says daily rows are the key to her happy marriage.

Despite bickering constantly since tying the knot during the Second World War, the 91-year-old and husband Harry, 93, from Balsall Heath, Birmingham, celebrated their platinum anniversary in 2012.

Floss says: “If any couple tells you they never argue, they’re lying. Arguing is healthy.”

Lovemaking three times a week and seven cuddles a week

The secret to a perfect marriage is having sex three times a week and enjoying seven cuddles during that time, according to a US study.

The study of 1,000 married couples also included kissing 10 times a week, cuddling up in front of the TV six times a month and 10 meaningful conversations a month were among the other things that are the recipe for wedded bliss.


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