Most couples think love is best expressed in three words... and they're not "bring home beer."
Studies have found that one possible key to a great relationship isn't the number of times people say "I love you" to each other, but their choice of pronouns. Couples who use words like "we," "us" and "ours" to describe themselves and their belongings are generally more satisfied than those who say "I," "me" and "mine."
The latest study, published in Psychology and Aging, says the "we" folk even handle stress during disagreements better than the "me" people.
Researchers looked at 154 couples--all middle aged or older--and had them air their grievances for 15 minutes.
Must have been a pleasant room.
The researchers found that people who used words like "we" had better heart rates and blood pressure during these disagreements. They were calmer. And based on questionnaires they also filled out, they were on the whole more satisfied with their marriage than those who used words like "I" and "mine."
It's a cute study... but let's not get too carried away. Your relationship is about how you treat each other--and while the words you choose may offer a glimpse into how you think of each other and how well you solve problems together, there's also such a thing as reading too deeply into these little cues.
Getting back to the story I told you about earlier, sex can play as big or role--or bigger--than your word choice in your marital health as well as your personal health.
Studies have found sex even tops money when it comes to overall happiness. One 2004 study found that frequent sex can have the same impact on happiness as $100,000, and that increasing sex from once a month to once a week is like getting another $50,000--at least as far as happiness is concerned. I don't think they accept sexual satisfaction at the bank.
Yet in response to the new study, some people are already working on the language they use rather than the substance of their marriage. One couple profiled on MSNBC is practicing saying "we" instead of "me."
But really, at the end of the day the issue isn't whether you ask "How happy am I?" or "How happy are we?"
It's how you answer that question together that will ultimately show what your marital bonds are really made of.
Love's language: Couples who say 'we' happier