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Intellect

Valentine’s Day: Science edition

In an extremely nerdy move, we’ve hunted through the archives to bring you something we call “Love stories from academic literature.”

Here are five Valentine’s “hypotheses” answered by BYU researchers in recent years:  

Hypothesis 1: Monday’s holiday may affect your blood pressure

True for those whose spouses give them a neck, head and shoulder massage. According to this study, regular rubdowns give both men and women a boost of oxytocin, a hormone that counteracts stress.

A separate study also found that happily married people have lower blood pressure than social singles.  Being single was still better for blood pressure than being unhappily married – another reason to “choose a mate wisely” as The New York Times put it.

Hypothesis 2: Opposites attract

It may not be the source of the attraction, but lots of marriages involve opposite conflict styles. But the good news is that these BYU marriage scholars know all about its impact on a relationship. The bottom line from their research: Everything’s fine if one of the partners is the “validating” type – the kind that makes certain that both sides are heard and appreciated.

Hypothesis 3: It’s better to take things slow in a relationship

You may have seen our recent story on this. But you probably didn’t see the ensuing coverage in The Economist magazine with the headline “Chastity before marriage may have its use after all.”

Hypothesis 4: A healthy husband means a healthy wife

And vice versa, it would seem. Spouses often mirror each other’s health. In fact, this study found that your spouse’s health is as strong a predictor for your own health as your level of education and your economic status.

Oddly enough, another BYU scholar found that the onset of a physical disability often unites couples and sparks an increase in marital happiness.

Hypothesis 5: Taking marriage prep is worthwhile

Right again! The specific benefit it produces is better communication within the relationship, according to this study.

And if you still manage to mess up Valentine’s Day for your significant other, this devotional by Professor Rick Miller has some great tips on sincere apologies.

Follow BYU news on Twitter: @BYU

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