Here is one of the many options in an Internet dispensed National Bar Survey, which gathered data on relationships from nearly 100,000 respondents:
"The moment I saw her I knew we were meant for each other. It was love at first sight."
Can you guess the gender stats on this one? We didn't. Only 28% of women answered affirmatively, whereas 48% of the men in the survey concurred with the statement. According to Christianna Northrup, who created the National Bar Survey, and her team of two sociologists, Pepper Schwartz and James Witte, men are more romantic than women, more likely to put the accent on appearance, and more likely to connect love with sexual attraction. Of course, there are other reasons why people marry, such as compatibility (soul mates), passionate love, being best friends, or being sparring partners.
As we turned the pages of this entertaining and data rich book, we couldn't stop ourselves from making comparisons with other couples and being on the lookout for fresh rituals, romantic tips, and helpful exercises. We especially appreciated the chapters on "Shows of Affection" (our favorite is hand-holding) and "The Great Communicators" (couples ranked communication as the most important skill for intimate relationships).
The most shocking chapter deals with "Secrets and Lies." Here it is revealed that only 53% of men and 39% percent of women completely trust their partners. The authors write: "Trust matters. Among extremely happy couples, only 7% of men and women harbor doubts about their partner's honesty and fidelity. But when trust fails, paranoia can ruin even otherwise perfect relationships."
Northrup, Schwartz, and Witte end with a positive affirmation of the ability of couples to find more ways to be happy or to fix marriages that are stuck in a rut. They salute those who are busy creating a new normal in their relationships, and so do we!