Final results of the Open University ‘Enduring Love’ study reveal that you can spend half a million quid confirming what we already know.
When I first heard about the Enduring Love study I was really excited about it, so I took the train out to Milton Keynes to meet the people behind it. They were really nice and we had tea and biscuits – nice biscuits – and they told me all about their project.
Boy was I in awe when I discovered that they had managed to raise £500,000 in funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.
I was conducting a survey at the same time, but mine was self funded and set up using Survey Monkey. Mind you, so was theirs… Only I guess they had to have a million ‘meetings’ to get ethical approval and decide the exact wording of each question. Plus they were also planning to interview sixty couples over the next two years. And I guess they had to analyse their data etc.
But still, half a million quid?
Anyway, far be it from me to criticise – I’m probably just jealous – but I kind of expected the results of the survey to be a little more, how can I put it… revealing?
The thing is, I love research. I really do. But I want it to tell me something new.
Instead, the headline grabbers from the study have been, in order…
• Couples without children have happier marriages.
• Childless men and women are more satisfied with their relationships and more likely to feel valued by their partner.
• Parenthood shapes relationship quality more than any other factor.
• Women without children were the least happy with life overall.
• Mothers were happier than any other group, even if their relationships faltered.
• Saying thank you and giving compliments is one of the most important factors in keeping a relationship healthy across all groups.
• Fathers were twice as likely as mothers to cite a lack of sexual intimacy as the thing they disliked most about their relationship.
• Money issues are one of the most difficult aspects of modern relationships.
And that, readers, is it.
For half a million quid…..