Sex & Relationships

Domestic science

Ten fundamentals for mastering the science of love

Ah, love. It’s a magical thing. Well, sort of. Turns out long-term romance may not be the stuff of fate, soulmates or the stars after all. Relationship researchers say marriage is a science, and argue that they can predict – with a surprising degree of accuracy – whose love affairs will keep burning and whose will fizzle out.

We’ve identified 10 fundamentals for mastering the science of love. If you’re still worried, panic not – experts say about a quarter of divorces could be avoided with some hard work. Just forget about magic and check out our tips for beating the relationship odds.

Many couples could benefit from talking to a professional, even for just a few sessions.

“Most people know when they’re not happy,” says Nancy Hurst, a psychologist and marriage therapist in Edmonton. If your stomach sinks when he walks in the door or your arguments go nowhere, make an appointment. And do it soon: most couples wait too long.

You will have to talk about your deepest feelings and possibly about sex, too. “You will be opening up to a stranger, but it’s in a safe environment,” says Hurst. In just a few sessions, there may be some changes, but it takes about 10 to go deep.

A therapist, being neutral, can mediate tired old arguments. An experienced, well-trained professional will have an arsenal of techniques to improve your arguments, communication, language and even the way you think about each other.

According to studies of marriage therapy by John Wright, a couples therapist and psychology professor at the University of Montreal, about 50 per cent of couples who go to therapy improve their relationship a lot. Even those about to divorce have better breakups.

He’s probably worried he’ll get blamed for everything. “Emphasize that it’s important to try to get help together,” says Diane Marshall, a Toronto-based registered marriage and family therapist.

Ask around to find someone who’s good. Or contact the marriage and family therapists’ association in your province (you’ll find them listed at