Friends and family can help strengthen marriage

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Well, new research has found the secret to a long-lasting union is having a strong support network of family and friends.

Led by Dr. Lisa Neff, from the University of Texas at Austin, a team of scientists focused on 105 newly-wed couples, who were all asked to keep daily records of any marital conflict.

The group also completed questionnaires about the number, quality and characteristics of their connections with friends and family and had their saliva analysed, with researchers looking at levels of the hormone cortisol.

It was found that it didn’t matter how many friends or close family members participants’ had, but rather the quality of those relationships that had a beneficial effect on marriage.

"We found that having a satisfying social network buffers spouses from the harmful physiological effects of everyday marital conflicts," said Dr. Neff. "Maintaining a few good friends is important to weathering the storms of your marriage."

And when it came to cortisol levels, which are a measure of stress response, the team found a link between the levels and conflict, but noted it “completely disappears when people are happy and satisfied with their available social network”.

“A few good friends are important to weathering storms of your marriage,” Dr. Neff added.

The study has been published in Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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