What's Love Got to Do With It?

Reveals that couples who think love, satisfaction and commitment in their relationships have improved with age tend to have the stable partnerships, according to a study. Comments from psychology professor Susan Sprecher; What may help strengthen the bond.

By Aaron Dalton, published on July 1, 1999 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015


Ask your romantic partner, "Do you love me more than yesterday?"
and a positive answer just might keep your relationship going--if you
believe him.

A study conducted by Susan Sprecher, Ph.D., indicates that couples
who think that love, satisfaction and commitment in their relationships
have improved with age--even if they haven't--tend to have the most
stable partnerships.

Sprecher, a psychology professor at Illinois State University,
followed a group of college couples for five years and regularly gave
them two questionnaires to complete: one asking how their feelings for
their partner had changed since the last questionnaire, the other
inquiring about their current feelings for each other.

The study's strongest pairs consistently reported that their love,
commitment and satisfaction were increasing. But a comparison of their
survey responses showed that only their commitment actually strengthened
over time, while love and satisfaction with their partner changed little
over the long haul.

Of course, many of Sprecher's couples fizzled out over the study's
five-year span. These splitting pairs seemed to be just as much in love
as they had ever been, a fact which Sprecher doesn't find

"I think people can still feel love for an ex-partner while
acknowledging that the relationship has become dissatisfying," she

Indeed, in couples who called it quits, satisfaction with the
relationship dipped significantly in the period before the

The bottom line: love has remarkably little to do with whether your
relationship is destined to last or headed for the hills, though
believing that your affection is growing may help strengthen the bond.
But if your partner starts singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" in the
shower, begin to worry.

PHOTO (COLOR): A romantic partner