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Are grand gestures a turn-off on Valentine’s Day? OU experts investigate

The Secrets of Enduring Love bookThe language of love is sometimes hard to understand. With Valentine’s Day upon us, the UK’s commercial outlets are busy shoving images and adverts of hearts and flowers in our faces. So much so you could be fooled into thinking there’s only one way to show you care.

But authors of a new self-help book on relationships would beg to differ. They say “love languages” are not fixed and find that, from the extensive research they have carried out among 5,000 couples, kind acts and generous words are just as appreciated as a bunch of daffodils hastily bought to mark a, so-called special day. But don’t ditch the flowers straight away!

At its heart, The Secrets of Enduring Love, says we should embrace difference and should not feel forced into following one formula, or feel pressure to stay the same at different times in a relationship.

Secrets is the only relationship self-help book based on an extensive survey and interview study with people in long-term relationships, and it focuses on what they actually do to sustain their relationship. With practical exercises, examples and talking points, Dr Meg John Barker and Professor Jacqui Gabb show readers what other partners do to maintain, nurture and nourish their relationships.

Supplemented with quizzes, facts, tips and anecdotes from real relationships Secrets also moves beyond the couple and considers, in the chapter called The Magic Number, how a relationship is often steadied by other elements, such as family pets, friends, church or hobbies.

Dr Meg John Barker said:

Relationships are sustained by the other people around them, and by our capacity to balance time together with time alone, and with other people in our networks.

So whilst there may be a commercial language of love, the reality is there’s more than one translation available.

Enduring Love: Should you make grand romantic gestures?

In this short film, the OU’s Professor Jacqui Gabb and Dr Meg John Barker explore the answer to this question using research carried out for their book The Secrets of Enduring Love. You can read more about the subject on OpenLearn.


Is chocolate good for you?

If you’re thinking of indulging in chocolates this Valentine’s Day, you might want to watch this video first. The OU’s Dr Claire Turner from the Department of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences, says chocolate is great for people who do a lot of physical activity and need a quick energy boost.

“But is it so good for the rest of us?” she asks.

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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