1. Marry someone similar to you, if a bit smarter
A Seattle Longitudinal Study found that the moststable relationships were those in which people weresimilar in intelligence, flexibility of attitudes, social responsibility, and education levels. Researchers also found that after 14 years together, spouses with the better grasp of verbal meaningsand word fluency had pulled the lower-functioningspouses up to their level.
2. Hold hands whenever possible
In addition to creating feelings of warmth and closeness, holding hands can help inoculateyou from stress. One study using brain scans found that when married women were told theywere about to receive an electric shock, just holding their husbands' hands minimized theirbrains' response to the threat. Women in the closest relationships experienced the greatestdecrease in stress-related brain activity.
3. Kiss at least once a day
This intimate touch triggers the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin and lowerslevels of the stress hormone cortisol - but that's not all. Researchers say that when we kiss, we activate nearly half of the cranial nerves that affect cerebral function. All of the sensoryinformation of a kiss - the smell and warmth of your partner's skin, the taste and feel of soft lips - shoots into your brain, delighting your neurons and forging new connections.
4. Put pictures of your honey on your desk
Brain scans show that looking at a photo of your beloved, especially in the early stages ofyour relationship, activates a part of the brain associated with pleasure and reward as well asfocused attention and motivation. When you're in the throes of new love, your prefrontal cortexalso gets into the action, anticipating more time together and planning future events.
5. Just be together
One study found that average blood pressure was lower when a person spent time with hisor her spouse than when they spent time alone or with other people. Even if you don't talk, just spend time in the same room, reading, watching TV, surfing the web, or doing crosswordpuzzles.