American scientists believe they've found a mathematical formula for the perfect marriage.
Scientists at the "Love Lab" or the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, Washington claim their predictions have 94% accuracy.
The formula was developed using data collected from a mountain of videotaped conversations between couples. Physiological data, such as pulse rates, also was collected and analysed.
What is your formula for lasting love? How do you keep the romance alive?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Whether you call it love, friendship, companionship, etc, it has one thing in common; trust and loyalty. Without this Love/Marriage would not last.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE
Intimacy. There has to be something you have with your partner that you don't share with anybody else. Emotional closeness and physical closeness. A good sex life is so important. It's fun. It makes you close. It makes you know and explore the other person. It makes you closer. Of course love, respect, committment, honesty etc have to be there. But so does sex!
NL, Herts UK
True love is a chemistry thing. Two people can generally get along but the awesome intensity of real love is almost overwhelming. Everyone looks for it but very few find it. The very best sex is had when the two people are emotionally bonded.
ALWAYS have the last word in an argument - "sorry dear"!!
Andrew, Sutton, Surrey
I wish I knew the secret 40 years ago.
Hiroshi Arashi, Gold Run, USA
My marriage is a happy one, but if only my Mrs would not get moody and sensitive about a hundred different things in a day, it would be happier.
Ashok D'Souza, England
Guys can always save themselves a lot of time by simply finding a woman they don't like and buying her a house!
Don Hunter, Ayr, Scotland
The Secret for happy marriage will always be a Secret.
Syed Ahmed, Bangalore & India
No in-law interference.
Netar, England, London
I think, the secret for successful marriage is responsibility. Especially if there are children involved.
Marriage success revolves around communication, complete admiration and involvement in each other. There needs to be a constant appreciation of each other and a togetherness. Most of all. FUN, KISSES and CUDDLES!
Barry Polatajko, Motherwell, Scotland
My grandmother died today, leaving behind her husband of 62 years. I don't know what their secret was, but all I can say is that they were hardly romantic - bickering was more common place! But I think marriages were built to last back then. How many people who marry tomorrow will be married in 62 years time, I wonder.
No kids and a dish washer!
Love is too complex, boundless, and indefinable to be explained by everyday mathematics. Why would we want to confine such an amazing thing to a simple answer? Love exists beyond formula.
Lindsey, Las Vegas, NV
You should want each other more than you need each other.
Ben, Southampton, UK
Saying that love doesn't require work is extremely naive. For some people, the effort required to sustain a long term relationship comes easily. For others, it does not. However, there is "work" that is required. Real love is the commitment to putting the other person first even when you may not feel like doing so.
From my humble opinion, relationship is a lot of nice words said between two people but very rarely one holds to what said. Can we blame it to our nature being human? Today in this world, love is so selfish when it should be selfless.
INdran, Kent and Uxbridge, UK
Let's all get our Math skills sharpened up. Maybe the divorce rate will come down not to mentioned better math capabilities for everyone.
Chandru , California, USA
First, you need to pick the right partner. Next, it's about devoting 100% of yourself to making your partner happy. If you both do that, then you both receive 100% devotion, and you will adore your partner for it.
Gazing into her eyes with love will make you both forget what you're arguing about, who left the iron on, who lost the keys, and who needs to take out the trash. Of course after you two stop staring at each other, the iron will still be on, the keys will still be missing and the trash will still be sitting in the kitchen! But those deep moments, as short as they may be are priceless.
Saroosh Ahmed, Bensenville, USA
I do not believe in the notion that there is one perfect person for each of us. This notion has caused many problems for many individuals. I believe that through the course of our lives we come across a number of people with whom we could have a successful marriage. Timing is certainly a key issue but success in marriage can be determined by the amount of love, respect, commitment and intimacy shared by the couple.
An absolute vital ingredient for a happy marriage, any happy relation is a compatible sense of humour. Nothing brings and keeps you closer together than sharing a laugh (PS: just had my 10th wedding anniversary)
Corinna, Berlin, Germany
I have been married for 35 years in total; however it has been to five different men. Every time I meet someone I think it is for life, I want to spend every waking minute with them. I don't believe for a second that there is a formula for a perfect marriage. I know how to make a man happy, but they don't appreciate it. I know it's not me - it's always them who can't handle my undying devotion. I am going through my fifth divorce at the moment so I would love to know this formula for husband number six.
It's down to the 4 Ls: Love, laughter, lust and luck!
Have been married for nine years. Never go to bed angry with each other. Learn that sometimes you need to lose the argument and put your partner's needs first. Being concerned for the other persons feelings is important but do not let them take advantage
JG, Grayswood, UK
It's simple. Buy her a mirror so she can see whose boss and plenty of shoes to walk all over you - then have a good laugh about it at your own expense!
Howard, Ellington, Northumberland
Reducing the ease with which divorces can be obtained, and the way in which the process is managed. It is too easy to get them and for the women to fund a lifestyle from the proceeds. This is happening. Its happened to three blokes I know and has caused two of them immense despair.
Max Richards, England
Men - put the seat down.
Women - have a separate room for shoes and handbags.
Phil C, Sheffield, UK
Funny how no one has mentioned sex.
Our marriage blossomed when I came to terms with the fact that I was to blame for everything that went wrong.
Alasdair, aboard a Drillship in the Gulf of Mexico.
It's quite simple, really. For husbands: when asked "Does this make me look fat?" Say "No." When asked for an opinion on a subject that doesn't interest you, like "shall we paint the wall white, off-white, ercu, or eggshell?" take a firm position and then cave-in instantly in the face of the slightest resistance. Do not, under any such circumstances, use the phrase "Oh, I don't care." (This rule applies to wedding planning as well.) And, most importantly, say "I love you!" early and often.
Tom, Denver, Colorado, USA
The first secret is to avoid American scientist formulas. Also don't expect everything to be perfect - respect each other - leave time for friends - and of course give in to the fact that the wife is the boss in the house regardless of what you've been told.
Philip Heller, USA
The secret for a happy marriage is finding a wife who is not materialistic and listens as well as speaks during an argument. If you can find either of these you are doing better then most, both and you are made.
Alan Davis, London, England
A man I once worked with once said to me that the secret to a good marriage was a good constructive argument that clears the air. He went on to tell me that if you don't argue there surely must be a dominant partner and that can't be good. I think the morale of his story was that a good marriage consists of give and take. I agree and will apply this to my four month marriage plus I also love my husband more than ever and that certainly counts for something.
I'd say it was all to do with respect - seeing their point of view as valid even when you disagree, being polite to each other instead of being brusque or demeaning, being considerate to their feelings when you act or decide. I think if you have respect for both their feelings and intelligence, you're less likely to hurt them, argue with them, or stop confiding in them.
To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the loving cup, whenever you are wrong admit it, whenever you are right shut up.
Being able to deal with problems is the key - and most importantly realise people are going to change as they get older. Nobody married for more than two years can look at their partner and say that they haven't changed somehow.
Trev, London, UK
Lessons learned from my seven year (failed) marriage. Make sure you're friends 1st, don't try to change the other person, grow together, and for God's sake, remember to put the toilet seat down!
Dan, Colorado, US
The secret for a long lasting relationship? Don't lust after her sister, best friend or her mother?! Failure to adhere to this simple guideline may also result in the relationship with certain key parts of your anatomy also being cut short (wince..)
Stuart Hadley, Birmingham, UK
Be there for each other even if you can only get together at certain time in the evening and make one evening just to be with each other. We have been married for three years now and we are both busy and professional people but we love each other so much without being mushy.
FAB, Farnham UK
If you want a relationship that lasts... get a dog.
To Martin, England: Does your dog do the ironing? If so, where can I get one?
Andy, Edinburgh, Scotland
To Andy, Edinburgh: I managed to get my dog to iron, it's the sex I can't get used to!
A mentor once advised: "Devote yourself to making your partner happy, never prioritising yourself. If you can find someone who loves you enough to do the same for you, then how can the two of you possibly part ways?"
Michael, Tokyo, Japan
Trust and compromise
Stephen, Cayman Islands
Timing is crucial. With all the will in the world and however perfectly matched you may seem to be we are all the victims of circumstance to a point. For a relationship to work it has to be the right time for both of you.
Sharing a bath together, and taking it in turns to be at the tap end!
Joannah, Lancaster, UK
Move far away from your mother-in-law.
The secret is: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails."
Dan W, Horsham, UK
Marriage is like a bank account - you get out what you put in... with interest.
Ear plugs! The only way to survive the snoring.
Honesty, sharing, give and take, respect. Use each other's strengths and don't prey on each other's weaknesses. Never let the sun go down on a quarrel. Spontaneous kindness (flowers, jobs done unexpectedly, whatever). Have fun together - and separately. Accept that everyone makes mistakes and be prepared to forgive and forget. And above all - keep talking, communicate, don't bottle trouble up!
Andrew, Cambridge, UK
I was given this advice on my wedding day and it works! Never go to bed without resolving an argument, and tell your wife/husband/partner that you love them, fist thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Don't work together or be financially dependant on the other. Keep some space for yourself and don't get under each others feet.
Karen, London, UK
The three C's of marriage... Compatibility, Communication, and the most important of all Commitment. Commitment to each other and to the marriage will weather the storms of the relationship.
I think giving each other space and at times accepting that they might want to do something without you. After all marriage is two individuals becoming one but in the process they don't lose their individuality - in fact sometimes people fight to keep it.
David Hilton, Hudds, UK
For a long marriage men need to have a shed.
Respect for one another.
You have to accept that both you and your partner are still going to find other people attractive. Get over that, and you've circumvented a number of difficulties.
Fred Boersma, London, UK
I may not be an expert on successful relationships as I am sure most people aren't but I really feel the key to a successful relationship is equality and sharing. If you treat your partner as an equal and an individual you will gain their respect and their trust. Also I feel letting go of past relationships and not judging your current partner on your past failures in relationships is important as well.
The secret is to remember that your way is not the best way and to remember that it is a partnership. This means that there are times when you have to give and take as well as giving your partner time to breathe.
Personally I think it's much more of a compliment to a relationship if you can stay together and *not* get married. I've been with my current partner for over three years now, and we have a 4 month old daughter. We are not married.
Peter Jackson, Portsmouth, UK
Let your wife choose the home decorations. IF you don't you'll never hear the end of it
Philip Jedlicka, Toronto, Canada
Compromise. Too many people fail to compromise on basic issues/problems and their marriages suffer as a result. Too many people just walk away from an issue when a compromise is all that's needed to clear the air and leave both parties winners.
Dan O'Mahony, Manchester
Divorce !!! I've never been happier.
Steve, Liverpool, England
She is your queen and you are her prince. That's the magic formula.
Ahmad, London, UK
My brother has been married twice and still has not figured this out. Both times, he's chosen greedy women who are after his money. He, in turn, treats women as subservient to men. There's is a clear lack of love, respect, tenderness, honesty and selflessness on all parts. I am sad for him that he's invested a total of 14 years in such a sad way to live. Some people will never "get it".
Elizabeth, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
The mutual acceptance of each other's feelings, sharing goals, never "bottling it up" and sometimes dogged determination and plain hard work.
Barry, Redhill, UK
Love, respect, humility, effective communication and prioritising your partner's needs/concerns and never going to bed on a sour note.
The secret to a happy marriage is love, mutual respect and a commitment to make the marriage work. People have different personalities and come from different backgrounds but if they love and respect each other and have a commitment to work on the marriage, they have a better chance of success.
Simple - two way communication.
A secret for a happy marriage is being able to communicate with each other, as well as the basics of love, trust and a bit of lust.
Joanne Murdy, Belfast
After 32 years, I can say that we have always admired and respected each other, have not expected to get our own way more than 50% and were lucky enough to choose the right one. Mind you, the first ten years were the worst.
We got married in July 03, after 5 and half years together. The secret to any good relationship - communication, honesty, never go to bed on an argument and always start the morning off with the words 'I love you' and finish off the day the same. Simple really.
Helen Kreissl, UK
You have to tell each other "I love you" and to say it every day. Be prepared to give more and take less. Talk more when there are problems as two can work things out better than one. Many relationships fail because of poor communications. Put your partner first and the relationship will get better as time goes by. We have been married nearly 35 years so it works for us.
Anthony & Pearl, Ramsgate
I have been with my partner for 7 years and we will be getting married next year! Lasting love comes with being best of friends but more importantly good communication. If you can't talk to each other it's doomed. Keeping the romance is about being appreciative of the other person and never take them for granted.
Peter O'Callaghan, London
My husband often says when we quarrel, "Will this really matter in two years' time?" Looking ahead to what lasts as opposed to splitting hairs over the immediate petty concerns can give perspective to any relationship.
R. Ducatt, Springfield, MO, USA
Love, respect and a good sense of humour are the keys to a happy marriage. Marriage is hard work but it should also be fun. The couple that can have a laugh together will always be more successful in marriage than those who can't.
Caroline, Leawood, USA
Know that the two of you together are more important than either of you separately.
Although not married, I believe the secret for a happy relationship, is respect for oneself, and for your loved one. Communication is also a vital part of it as it's good to talk... no need to build up all that anxiety within yourself! OH and smiles... a smile is contagious as the famous saying goes! As long as my boyfriend is genuinely smiling, I know that he's happy and that makes me happy!
If you want to be happy for an evening, get drunk; if you want to be happy for a year, get married; but if you want to be happy forever, get a garden.
Louise Robson, London
Find your soul mate.
Being able to agree to disagree and respect, that is fundamental. But the golden rule is to agree more than you disagree....
Treat partner selection like buying a used car. Check the history, check the body work (look under the bonnet), make sure it's neither clocked nor the subject of hidden finances and, above all else, give it a good test drive first!
Patrick V. Staton, Guildford, UK
The ability to laugh at yourself, and to make your partner laugh.
Becky, Cambridge, UK
Marry the love of your life. If you are truly soul mates, and meant to be together then all the difficulties don't seem quite so bad.
JoAnne, Ottawa, Canada
Marriage today is nothing more than a relationship with a signed contract. The fact is most get married when in love, not really knowing their partner. As soon as the 'real relationship' starts and you know your partner, it's either good...or too late. To make a relationship work, you must have over 60% in common, you must be able to handle the human psyche, the fact the we all make mistakes is human, but it is also a fact that we hold grudges which turn into hate and divorce. The secret? Treat your partner as if he/she were your best friend...
Peter Cotterill, Washington, DC - ex pat
To love someone for the rest of your life is an active decision, which means always putting them first. It requires complete openness, effective communication and the sharing of deepest feelings. The result is a unity, not a compromise, which takes both parties through a voyage of discovery to continually growing love and happiness.
Michel Jordan, Nazeing, England
A sense of humour!
Helen Wyld, England
The secret for a happy marriage is for the wife to make it clear immediately that she is in charge of everything while at the same time convincing her husband that he calls all the shots. As long as he never realizes the truth, he will think he is happy which is all that matters.
I have been married a short while and I can honestly say being married is so special, it really is great, there are good times and hard times but you both work through it, its about love, communication, honesty, sharing, being friends, having a laugh (often) giving, not being familiar.
Janine, Essex, England
Picking the right partner. It's as simple as that. Marriages break down not because people couldn't work at them, but because they HAD to work at them. Real love doesn't need working at.
Formula for a happy marriage is not a mathematical one but respect for each others feelings.
V Das, Manchester UK
My wife and I have been together 14 years and married for 9. In that time we have never had an argument. We have two rules. Be totally open with each other and respect the others opinions.
It's vital to share a sense of humour and laugh a lot. And don't expect too much from marriage - it's not perfect, nothing is. But if you can laugh, talk things over and have an understanding of each other's points of view, it goes a long way to making it happy. We also think very much as a couple, i.e. "we" rather than "I".
Sandra Sawyer, Derby, England
We are happily married for 15 years and my biggest advise is "ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice"
Saima, Houston, USA
I totally agree with Martin, England. Dogs don't spend all your money as well as theirs on alcohol and drugs. A dog is also a woman's best friend!
Susan Able, Woking, England
Money CAN buy you love!
Si Davie, Marcham, England
Life isn't a sprint, it is a marathon. If you can happily see yourself old, grey and right alongside your partner, you might be ready for marriage. Coming from America, we have millions of bad examples around us. We however, do not let drama, money or other external factors adversely affect our partnership. Dear Si Davie, hope your store bought love lasts. Did you hear? Barbie's ditching Ken! You might be in trouble...
Jacob Staff, Seattle, USA
Did we need a ten-year study to tell us that people who can't discuss contentious issues without getting angry are likely to divorce? Marriage is about compromise, and compromise comes about through friendly and loving discussion
Andrew, Cambridge, UK
Communication, tolerance and respect for both your partner and your marriage. Love is obviously critical, but it will only get you so far. Too often, married couples focus on what "drives them nuts" about their partner and take for granted their wonderful traits.
Jeff, Cincinnati, USA
I let my wife watch the shopping channel all day. That keeps her happy and when she's happy, I'm happy, I think...
Lee Cage, Oldham, UK
Have regular affairs with your partner. In other words put all the energy and creativity into your relationship that people seem to put into affairs. Make nice surprises, skulk off to hotels and buy little presents. Not all the time, but often enough to stop it feeling stale. Love dies when it is taken for granted.
Have a laugh! It really makes you understand why you are together!
The true test of a mathematical theory like this is whether it makes accurate predictions, as well as explaining things after the fact. As a physics graduate myself, I find it hard to believe that something as subjective and complex as human relationships can be modelled in this way. And the secret of a happy marriage? Give and take, like others here have suggested. Love your other half enough to want to see them happy, and they'll reciprocate. It's no big secret, however much TV portrayals of marriage try to tell us otherwise.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK
I think the key is compromise and sacrifice for the other. As a 25 year veteran of married life - all to the same woman - I can say it is wonderful, even the bumps make the relationship stronger. And if you can remember the five most important words, "yes dear whatever you want" and put them into place, you'll be just fine.
Bill, Colchester, Vt, USA
Compatibility, communication, commitment, and a dash of 'je ne sais quoi'!
Fellow men: just buy your woman shoes every week and everything will be good!
PATIENCE! It's too easy to give up. Also, don't nitpick or carry grudges. No partner wants a mental backlog of every single mistake they've made in the past.
Sherrin, London, UK
Picking the right partner. It's as simple as that.
Have lots of affairs, and don't get caught.
The secret is not to try and change your partner. If you're not happy with the way they are you shouldn't really be spending your life with them. My partner and I still have the social lives of 20-somethings and we're both in our early 50s.
Don't ask me! I've had two goes and two failures. Third time lucky perhaps
John Foster, Aylesbury, England
The secret is not to get married at all. Such a small minority are religious in the UK these days, there's no tax advantage to being married and most long-lived relationships seem to go wrong the moment the certificate is signed. If a relationship isn't broken then don't fix it.
David Howe, Chelmsford UK
The secret of a happy relationship is perseverance. There are going to be times when things are unbearable, but if you stick with your partner you will both come out stronger than ever. It's not always easy loving someone, trouble is these days divorce is all too easy to obtain.
Jenny, Manchester, UK
The secret of a good marriage is to be good friends.
Jane, Guildford, UK
You do what she says
Rob , UK
Love, loyalty, truth, trust and sacrifice
Mrs Fye, Spain
Interesting that the comments so far seem to only relate to marriage. My partner and I celebrate Valentine's Day too. The secret to a happy relationship? Start right, start as you mean to carry on and stick to it. And always have that little surprise every now and then!
Simon Gregg, Cambridge
An ideally happy marriage would involve as few arguments as possible. A realistic happy marriage is where the arguments happen but they get resolved quickly and happily!
Christopher Hogarty, Oxford, UK
Love is about taking pleasure from helping or giving pleasure to your partner. Its also about sharing, mutual understanding and laughter.
Tim Harris, Nottingham
Whenever there is an argument, or you want to correct your wife, ask yourself: 'Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?'...
RS, Bath, UK
The ability to communicate with warmth and humour no matter what your surroundings and situation are. Negative comments if possible should be kept to a minimum.
Lucy, United Kingdom
Don't take each other for granted. Love, respect and value each other. NEVER sink into complacency. Have a laugh together!
Not trying to change your partner to match your ideas of perfection. Not going to sleep on a argument and respecting each others views - even when they are wrong :)
The secret to a good relationship is to understand. Understanding that you can only ever do two things wrong, everything you say and everything you do.
It may sound stupid, but the secret for a happy marriage is being happy.
Mark, Farnham, Surrey
Realism is very important in a marriage. Accepting that marriage is for the long haul and in that time there's going to be rough times. Being able to talk to your partner is imperative and give and take. Don't expect hearts and flowers forever, it's not real life.
Anna, Birmingham, UK
Marriage is all about trust. People get married because they believe they will be happy in one way or another by forming a bond with someone else. Trust is the foundation of marriage; it is also the polar for a happy marriage.
Helena, Essex, UK
I used to interview couples celebrating 40th, 50th and even 60th wedding anniversaries for a local newspaper. I always asked them 'What's the secret of a happy marriage?'. 'Give and take' they all would reply. Typically, each husband and wife had their own living area within their home - their own living room, their own TV etc - and it seemed didn't spend much time together. I always believed that was, in truth, the secret of a long and happy marriage.
I'm getting married this summer. My parents divorced, which has made me very determined to put every effort into making my marriage work. I don't know what difficulties and obstacles we will have to overcome, but taking an open approach (and knowing my fiancée well enough to guess her reaction to almost anything) has to be the key to success. See problems from the other person's shoes and be realistic about what is and is not crucially important to you personally as opposed to you as a couple.
Alex, London, UK
To Randal Bagwell: Whilst what you say is true, It has to work both ways. Your wife has to be selfless to, otherwise you end up a door mat.
Marriage must be a compromise, give and take equally.
The secret to a happy marriage is selflessness instead of selfishness, putting the needs of your wife ahead of your own needs, helping her in little ways. If people are selfish, they will not have a happy marriage no matter how mathematically compatible they are according to a scientist's list of factors. Love is about giving, not getting.
Randal Bagwell, Copperas Cove, Texas, USA