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Publication #FAR3025

The Love Culture1

Suzanna Smith2

The recent marriage of an award-winning actress and famous country singer happened quickly . . . and lasted about four months. This whirlwind romance was followed by another marriage casualty.

Choosing the right partner is an important decision, maybe even the most important one you will make. Bad relationships can affect your job performance, health, financial security, and even how long you live. However, the U.S. has what researchers refer to as a "love culture," where passion often beats out rational decision-making in choosing a lifelong partner (Schwartz 2003).

What does it take to make love work, even when the initial chemistry fades? Based on data collected from over 21,000 couples around the country, researchers compared happy and unhappy couples and found distinct differences on several factors (Schwartz 2003).

Over 75% of happy couples said that their partners were good listeners and understood how they feel, compared to less than 20% of unhappy couples. They felt that they could share feelings and ideas, even during disagreements (Schwartz 2003).

The vast majority of happy couples also spent leisure time together and found it easy to think of things to do. Even in the midst of busy work and family schedules, happy couples planned time for their partner. Happy couples had a satisfying sex life, too, so while passion may not be the most important thing in making a marriage last, it is one vital piece of many factors that make up a healthy and happy relationship (Schwartz 2003).

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Schwartz, P. (2003). Love is not all you need. Psychology Today, May/June. Retrieved September 20, 2005, from



This document is FAR3025, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 273 and published April 2009. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.