Churchgoing is the key to a better love life

AP

New research from Portugal suggests that those looking for a better love life should be going to church.

Félix Neto and Maria da Conceição Pinto from the Universidade do Porto interviewed 1,284 Portuguese men and women between the ages of 18 and 90.

They published their paper 'Satisfaction with Love Life Across the Adult Life Span' in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.

Speaking in Science Daily, the researchers said: "In contrast to much past investigation on love, our research used a sample of adults representing a full range of age. Focusing on exploration of age variations in satisfaction with love life, the research displayed a comprehensive view of differences and similarities across the adult life span."

Their approach to understanding love defined it as: "A desire to enter into, maintain, or expand a close, connected, and ongoing relationship with another person."

They found that a combination of factors, including age, marital status, religiosity, and whether a couple's love style is more manipulative or playful, have significant impact on a person's satisfaction with the romance in their lives.

As a group, regular churchgoers were the most satisfied with their love life, with religiosity having a much greater effect on romance satisfaction than other factors like education.

This is linked to the research describing those who are most satisfied with their love life as having "harmonious social ties" such as those found in the fellowship of a church community.

The researchers noted that this was in line with previous research which had found that observant religious people tend to have better mental health as well as more satisfaction in life as a whole, as well as in sexual and romantic relationships.

The survey also discovered that love life satisfaction among those aged 18 to 30 years of age is similar to that found among people aged 31 to 59.

The age when most people began to describe less satisfaction with their love lives is 60 years and over. According to the research, this is partially because that those of that age group see romance as less important to them.

Although generally across the genders the trends were the same, the research noted that men have more satisfaction with some love styles than women do.

Men with a 'Ludus' relationship style, where they play manipulative games and their partner is kept uncertain about the state of the relationship, report more romance satisfaction than women who love in a similar way.

The same is true with men who love in a so-called 'Mania' style, which the researchers define as possessive and jealous.

Unsurprisingly, the research also found that married people and those currently in romantic relationships had a far higher love life satisfaction rating than divorcees or those currently without romantic involvement.

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