Researchers have found it often takes much more than a hug and a kiss to patch up a partnership after a nasty bust-up or rocky patch.
Cutting off contact with friends who have the potential to lead us astray was also hailed as crucial, as was buying a dog, which gives couples something in common to look after.
Martin Loxley, National Head of Family Law at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, which commissioned the research, said: “Most relationships will go through a rocky period at some stage, and it seems the way you deal with things during that time can be the difference between patching things up or splitting permanently.
“The secret seems to be spending more time together rather than separating your lives even further than they already are.
“Many relationships go through a difficult period when day-to-day life gets in the way or you become too busy or stressed to simply enjoy some quality time together. As a consequence, you can lose the intimacy and closeness that relationships need to survive.”
The study found simply have more quality time together is the most successful way to save a relationship, with more than eight in ten of those who have tried this saying it made things better.
Making time for some old-fashioned date nights is also likely to result in a happy ending, with 78% of couples who gave this a go getting over their rough patch.
Heading off on a ‘make-or-break’ holiday together and being more honest and open with each other during important conversations was also hailed a success by more than three quarters of the couples who tried them.
Other things which can help a couple survive a rough patch include ending bad or unhelpful friendships, making more effort to spice things up in the bedroom and finding a new hobby or interest to do together.
Counselling sessions, moving house and writing down the reasons you fell in love with your partner in the first place are also on the list.
The study also found that no longer communicating is the most common reason for relationships to start falling apart, following by taking each other for granted and having to deal with money worries.
A dwindling sex life, being too busy to spend together and simply growing apart are also to blame for a large number of relationship break-downs.
It also emerged that people think couples should try to make things work for an average of just under 12 months before they finally end a relationship.
But three quarters think that people give up too easily on relationships nowadays; with another eight in ten believe older generations were more likely to stay together because they believe marriage was for life.
The single family court will be introduced in April this year and under the new scheme all couples are required to attend mediation before issuing proceedings. There are exceptions but most cases will not fall into these exceptions.
Following the removal of legal aid for most family cases in April 2013, the Government hope this new approach will encourage a ‘friendlier’ approach with better communication and earlier settlements.
20 ways to save a relationship
- Making quality time for each other
- Taking date nights together
- Taking a holiday together
- Start talking honestly and openly
- Ending unhelpful friendships
- Trying to spice things up in the bedroom
- Find a new interest to pursue together
- Counselling sessions
- Moving house
- Write a list about why you love / loved each other
- Going on holiday alone / separately
- A trial separation
- Having a baby
- Write letters to each other
- Buying a dog
- Changing jobs
- Give up alcohol
- Visiting a doctor
- Emigrate together
- Ban the use of social media
10 reasons why relationships fall apart
1. We stopped communicating
2. We took each other for granted
3. Money worries
4. We stopped having sex
5. We never saw each other
7. We grew apart
8. We stopped any form of affection whatsoever
9. Infidelity/one person cheating
10. We should never have got together in the first place
If you need help with your relationship we can offer you the Mature Guide to relationships, love and sex is supported by Relate, the relationship people and written with Barbara Bloomfield, who is a Relate couples counsellor with 14 years of experience in the counselling field.
The guide is designed to help you nurture and develop existing relationships, or help you find new ones: whether that is a new partner or new friends and companions to become part of your life as you get older.
This guide will show you how to make improvements to your relationships and give practical, down to earth and humorous advice about sex, love and those bumpy bits of our relationships.
To order your Guide
You can order your copy by either sending a cheque payable to Mature Times for £9.95 to Mature Times Guides, Unit 6, Railway Wharf, Station Road, Wrington, Bristol BS40 5LL.
If you would prefer to pay by either debit or credit card please call 01934 864410 during normal office hours and we will take your order details.