How Can You Improve the Quality of Your Romantic Relationships?
What makes a romantic relationship good?
There are MANY different definitions and conceptualizations of love, which complicates attempts to assess the role of love in romantic relationship stability, quality, and satisfaction.
For example, romantic love includes passion, exclusiveness, sexual intimacy and physical attraction, yet sexual intimacy may also exist outside of it as well.
Another definition is attachment style. A romantic partner will replace a parental figure as the primary attachment figure (Hazan & Shaver, 1994). When an attachment figure is perceived as emotionally unavailable or unreliable, one may be more prone to feel insecure and have doubts about the relationship.
When a close other is perceived as available, reliable, trustworthy, and willing to provide support when needed, one is more likely to feel a sense of secure attachment, intimacy, support, and nurturance (Cassidy, 2000; Hazan & Shaver, 1994; Mikulincer, Shaver, & Pereg, 2003).
The Most Important Factors for Relationship Satisfaction
Many couples report love as being the most important aspect of their relationship satisfaction. Married couples tend to identify love as being the most important quality that makes them feel close, connected, and committed to their spouse (Riehl-Emde, Thomas, & Willi, 2003).
Love, romance, and intimacy are all positively associated with well-being (Love & Holder, 2015).
Findings also point to the qualities of attachment, support, intimacy, companionship, and sexual satisfaction.
The 6 Love Styles and Their Impact on Relationships
Lee (1977) defined six types of love styles. First, the three main love styles are:
- Eros (i.e., rooted in strong physical attraction)
- Ludus (i.e., viewing love as a game, noncommittal)
- Storge (i.e., friendship evolving into a romantic relationship)
The next three styles are combinations of the three main love styles including
- Mania: Combination of eros and ludus (i.e., possessive, jealous, anxious attachment to a partner)
- Pragma: Combination of ludus and storge (i.e., practical approach)
- Agape: Combination of eros and storge (altruistic love)
Hendrick and Hendrick (1986) developed a 42-item Love Attitude Scale that categorizes individuals into one of these six love styles. You can take this questionnaire by clicking here.
Those with eros and agape styles and those who have similar love styles tend to report better relationship quality and higher satisfaction.
Individuals within couples who have different love styles tend to report lower quality relationships and satisfaction (Davis & Latty-Mann, 1987).
How Else Can You Increase Relationship Satisfaction and Happiness?
Couples who agree on a suitable division of labor for financial and household responsibilities report the highest relationship satisfaction and marital happiness and conflict (Blumstein and Schwartz, 1983).
How you react when your partner shares good news is a really important moment for intimate relationships. You want to respond in an active-constructive manner. (Gable, Reis, Impett, & Asher, 2004).
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