This popular love language may lead to a more blissful union.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated February 14, 2019
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The perfect relationship doesn't exist—even Nicholas Sparks' protagonists encounter their fair share of ups and downs—but it turns out that one specific behavior among couples may result in a more blissful partnership. In a recent study commissioned by the love experts at eharmony, researchers surveyed over 2,000 participants who were married, co-habitating or in a long-term relationship. Of those interviewed, 83% reported they were happy in their relationships, and identified with feeling as equal partners within their union. Those same participants noted they were in a monogamous relationship that valued open communication and a healthy sex life defined as either daily or weekly sex.

While the gender, age and location of each participant varied, it was found that the happiest relationships are those that placed a high value on words of affirmation or appreciation. If the term itself sounds familiar, that's because words of affirmation was popularized by author Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts ($9; amazon.com). Compared to the other four love languages—physical touch, acts of service, gift giving and quality time—words of affirmation is best defined as unsolicited compliments. (Think: Verbally expressing your appreciation for your partner mid-Netflix binge or in an otherwise mundane moment.)

Additionally, 70% of those surveyed believe that commitment and stability throughout a marriage results in happier relationships, and it was found that spending quality time together was a love language that was valued highly among Gen Z generations. Unhappy couples on the other hand, identified with feeling no sense of equality in their partnership, and reported infrequent sex and marrying for reasons other than love.

While it's true that many factors result in a seemingly perfect marriage or domestic partnership (shared interests and personality traits included), the survey helped shed some light on healthy relationship practices we could all benefit from. Now go tell your partner you love them before settling in with a box of chocolates.